HC Deb 31 October 1990 vol 178 cc985-6
18. Mr. Teddy Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the United Kingdom's trade with Germany.

Mr. Sainsbury

Germany is the United Kingdom's second largest export market. Our visible exports in the first three quarters of this year increased by 19 per cent. to £9.4 billion, compared with the first nine months of 1989. Germany is the United Kingdom's largest supplier and our visible imports increased by 3.4 per cent. in the same period, reaching £15.3 billion.

Mr. Taylor

As last year's figures show that for every pound of goods we sent to Germany, Germany sent us back more than £2 worth, and as the deficit was more than double our deficit with Japan, does not that seem to show either a considerable amount of non-tariff discrimination or that the exchange rate of DM2.95 is wholly artificial? Will the Minister examine that problem and see what can be done about our worst trading partner, not our best?

Mr. Sainsbury

There are clearly considerable opportunities for British companies to increase their exports to Germany. It is our second largest export market and there has been good growth in it. I hesitate to say this to my hon. Friend, but our opportunities to export to that market would be reduced—there would be more obstacles to our trade—were we not both members of the European Community.

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