HC Deb 29 March 1949 vol 463 cc96-7W
68. Mr. Burden

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the importance of developing this country's export trade with Pakistan and if he will endeavour to arrange for a trade delegation to visit Pakistan at an early date.

Mr. J. Edwards

We are fully aware of the importance to this country's economy of our trade with Pakistan and of the contribution which we can make to that country's developing economy. There has in fact been a rapid rise in our exports of cotton piece goods and a substantial increase in the supply of capital goods to Pakistan and our total exports over the three months November, and December, 1948 and January, 1949, have reached an annual rate of £33 million as compared with an annual rate of £7 million during the first three months of 1948. Correspondingly, there has been an encouraging increase in our imports from Pakistan.

This increase in trade has been largely brought about by representatives of United Kingdom firms who have been visiting Pakistan in considerable numbers to investigate the opportunities for trade and investment. Many firms and some trade associations have resident representatives, and a number of United Kingdom firms are already undertaking manufacturing processes in Pakistan in conjunction with local interests.

In these circumstances my right hon. Friend sees no present need for an official trade mission, but he will continue to bear this possibility in mind. The Board of Trade will also stress to individual firms and to trade associations how important it is that they should familiarise themselves with conditions in Pakistan and ensure that their representation and sales arrangements will make the most of the opportunities offered by the Pakistan market.