HC Deb 04 December 1947 vol 445 cc93-4W
74. Mr. Sparks

asked the President of the Board of Trade what are our principal imports of raw materials from the dollar countries; and to what extent they are likely to be reduced owing to the shortage of dollars.

Mr. Belcher

Our principal imports of raw materials from dollar areas consist of steel, non-ferrous and light metals, timber, cotton, paper and paper making materials, hides and skins, molasses, sulphur and various chemical products, but there are a wide range of others of special significance to particular industries in the United Kingdom. As regards the second part of the Question, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer indicated in the Debate on the Address on 23rd October that the programme of raw material imports would be cut in 1948 by £25 million, the main part of which would come from a reduction in steel owing to lack of availability, and in timber. The future level of our imports must of course depend on the outcome of bilateral negotiations now on hand or pending, and on general developments in our balance of payments position.