§ Mr. HARTSHORN
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether Germany had an excess of imports or of exports, and in either case, of what amount, before the War; if there was an excess of imports, how that excess was liquidated; and whether Germany can now pay a great indemnity without creating an excess of exports?
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
In the five years 1900–1913 the average value of the imports into Germany was £493,000,000, and of the exports from Germany, £411,000,000. These values relate to the "special" trade, that is to say, are exclusive of transit and re-export trade, and include bullion and specie as well as merchandise. Further, the records include Luxemburg, with the German Economic Union, to which the figures relate. The earnings of German merchant shipping, and the return on investments and enterprises in other countries owned by Germans was far more than sufficient to cover the difference between these imports and exports. The payment of a large indemnity will involve, during the period of payment, an excess of exports over imports.