HC Deb 18 December 2003 vol 415 cc1718-20
18. Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con)

Thank you, Norman Lamb, and Mr. Speaker.

What assessment has been made of current fund flows between the United Kingdom and (a) the European Union and (b) the United States; and if he will make a statement. [144733]

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Ruth Kelly)

The current account deficit in 2002 stood at 1.8 per cent. of GDP, well below past peaks. In 1989, the current account deficit reached more than 5 per cent. of GDP. The UK current account deficit is well below the US current account deficit of 5 per cent. of GDP.

Michael Fabricant

I thank the Minister for that answer. Will she give an idea of the current trade deficit with the European Union and the current trade surpluses with the United States of America? What lessons on international trade do they give the Government?

Ruth Kelly

I have already given the hon. Gentleman an idea of the figures. Despite the fact that the UK economy grew faster than any other country in the EC on average in 2001 and 2002, the latest statistics show that the trade deficit as a percentage of GDP has been stable over the past couple of years.