§ Commander BELLAIRS
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the attention attracted by the excess of imports; whether he is aware that the excess of £370,500,000 in 1915 was calculated by the Board of Trade to be at 1909 prices to be reduced to £297,000,000 as stated in an answer to the Member for Maidstone on 25th January, 1916; and whether he can state,' approximately, that two-thirds of this amount would disappear if insurance and freight were to be included in the exports as they are included in the imports?
I am aware of the answer referred to. I regret that the data at my disposal are not sufficient to enable me to frame an accurate estimate of the cost of freight and insurance on goods exported from the United Kingdom. I may remind the hon. and gallant Gentleman that only the freights on goods carried on British-owned ships should be taken into account in such a comparison as he suggests, and that somewhat more than one-half the tonnage of shipping leaving United Kingdom ports with cargo for other countries is under neutral flags.