§ 9. Mr. Teddy Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what the total positive or negative balance of trade has been in manufactures with the European Economic Community and the rest of the world, respectively, since the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community; and if he will express these totals as amounts per day, respectively.
§ Mr. Peter Rees
For the period 1973 to 1980 there was a total deficit of about £10 billion with the European Community and a surplus of £34 billion with the rest of the world, £3½ million and £11½ million per day respectively.
§ Mr. Taylor
As Britain traditionally always had a surplus in manufacturing trade with the Common Market countries before we became a member, and as since then it has had a deficit of £3½ million per day, does my hon. and learned Friend think it worth while to have a full, independent inquiry into why our trade in manufactures with the EEC has deteriorated so significantly and our trade with the rest of the world improved so significantly, as that must affect a substantial number of jobs in the United Kingdom?
§ Mr. Rees
To get the problem in perspective, I should perhaps remind the House that Germany is now our biggest export market, and that the Continental countries of the European Community have shown the greatest increase. I do not take the gloomy view that my hon. Friend has just shown, and I see no call for an inquiry at present.
§ Sir Anthony Meyer
Is it not a fact that, as a proportion of our total trade, our deficit with the EEC is one-third of what it is on the same basis with the United States, and one-twelfth of what it is with Japan?
§ Mr. Rees
The hon. Gentleman states his own position, and we know that the party of which he is a distinguished 9 member is making its own calculations on this important issue. Whether its figures on the cost of withdrawal are accurate remains to be seen. This Administration are firmly committed to membership of the EEC.