HC Deb 31 May 1949 vol 465 cc145-6W
82. Mr. J. Lewis

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the effect on United Kingdom trade of the import cuts announced by the South African Government on 23rd May; and what effect it is estimated the refusal to grant further permits for finished consumer goods after 30th June, will have on our export figures in terms of loss in overseas trade.

Mr. Bottomley

The South African announcement stated that importers of sterling goods consisting of essential raw materials, spare parts and consumable stores will be permitted to import 25 per cent. of their 1948 imports during the six months July-December, 1949. The announcement added that the position will be reviewed in August when the Union Authorities will consider how much more they can afford to licence in the classes of essential goods and also whether some permits can be granted for less essential goods. It is clearly not possible to calculate the effect of these arrangements on United Kingdom export trade until it is known what raw materials and capital goods will be classed as essentials. The South African authorities have themselves expressed the hope that the quotas for essential industrial requirements will reach a substantial proportion of 1948 imports and that the position in 1950 will be much improved, although the high level of imports of the last few years will not be possible.