HC Deb 17 April 1996 vol 275 cc710-2
21. Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the current level of exports in (a) manufacturing, (b) financial services and (c) other areas. [23938]

Mr. Nelson

In 1995, manufacturing exports were £127 billion, exports of services were £43 billion—of which £5.5 billion were net financial services—and earnings from overseas assets were £90 billion.

Mr. Greenway

Does my hon. Friend agree that success breeds success? Would it not be right to show those excellent figures all around the world? Will that not lead to more jobs being created in this country? Would that not be better than the negative attitude of Labour and the other parties, who constantly talk down the great success that our exports are having?

Mr. Nelson

The answer is certainly yes, and I am grateful to my hon. Friend for drawing attention to the record export of goods and services and receipts from foreign investment. Those should be a matter for joy and celebration on both sides of the House, but they clearly are not. We should advertise our successes more—for example, we are now exporting more per head than Germany or Japan. That is happening not just because of business but because of the policies of the Conservative Government.

Mr. Dalyell

Will the Minister put in the Library any information his Department has about exports to the Rabta project in Libya, alleged by some to be a chemical weapons site and by others to be major water-producing site? What is the British Government's reaction Government to the alleged refusal to send an international inspection team at the invitation of the Libyans to see what they are up to?

Mr. Nelson

I do not recognise the allegations that the hon. Gentleman makes, but I would be very happy to look into the matter and to write to him. If he then wants to table a question, I will endeavour to answer it as fully as possible.