§ 2.36 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the latest available figures of United Kingdom exports to and imports from:
- (a) Russia;
- (b) the Republic of South Africa;
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, BOARD OF TRADE (LORD WALSTON)
My Lords, in 1966 United Kingdom exports to the Soviet Union were £50 million (f.o.b.), representing £0.2 per head of their population. United Kingdom imports from the Soviet Union were £126 million (c.i.f.), representing £2.2 per head of our population and £0.5 per head of their population. For the Republic of South Africa, the figures were: exports, £242 million, or £13.2 per head of their population; imports, £192 million, or £3.5 per head of our population and £10.7 of theirs.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his reply. It is a 266 little difficult to assimilate it at once, but it would appear that the balance of trade in favour of the United Kingdom is immeasurably higher in the case of South Africa than in the case of Russia. Arising out of that reply, may I ask the noble Lord whether he is able to comment on the large volume of exports which, according to reports from high authority, would have been possible from the United Kingdom to South Africa had we not refused to permit the export of defence material which is now being so generously supplied by France and other members of the United Nations?
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, Her Majesty's Government's policy is to trade with every country with which we can profitably trade, regardless of the political complexion of the Government of that country. However, as a member of the United Nations we are bound by the resolutions of the United Nations, to which the noble Lord has referred. If other members of the United Nations disregard those resolutions it is no direct concern of Her Majesty's Government, except in so far as we are a member of the United Nations. But I would point out to the noble Lord that, although it is true that the total volume of our trade with South Africa has declined over the past year, the proportion of our exports to South Africa has risen. Therefore any supposed effect of our policies in that part of the world cannot be held to have had any deleterious effect, I am glad to say, upon our trade with South Africa.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, is the noble Lord able to hold out any hope that we might recover a portion of the business which we freely let go because of our high principles, as he alleges them to be, which are evidently disregarded by our associates in the "pie-in-the-sky" United Nations?
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I can hold out every hope that we shall stick to our obligations as a member of the United Nations.