§ 16. Mr. John Marshall
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the growth of United Kingdom trade with the European Economic Community.
§ Mr. Alan Clark
We welcome the growth in trade with the European Community. Increased trade widens buyers' choice, encourages greater efficiency, and stimulates growth in the economy as a whole.
§ Mr. Marshall
Does my hon. Friend agree that the fact that the European Community takes 50 per cent. of our exports underlines both the potential for 1992 and the folly of those who sought at the 1983 election, and subsequently, to take Britain out of the European Community?
§ Mr. Wilson
How does the Minister view the prospects for the Scotch whisky industry in the European Community?
§ Mr. Soames
With his well-known enthusiasm for the European Economic Community, does my hon. Friend agree that, although British business has done well in the Community recently, a limiting factor to developing our business is the poor language skills of British managers? Does he agree that the Government should take steps to ensure that companies are much better geared to promote their goods in the countries to which they are trying to sell them?
§ Mr. Clark
My hon. Friend is entirely right. One problem is that so many of our customers speak English —of a kind. That sometimes deludes British exporters into thinking that they can reply at length, deliver technical specifications and issue sales literature in English. In fact, the sooner they realise that it is essential to circulate their literature and to converse in, if possible, the language of their customers, the better their prospects.