Air Commodore Harvey
asked the President of the Board of Trade when he proposes to send a trade mission to the Middle East.
§ Mr. P. Thorneycroft
There are very important export markets in the Middle East. The oil-producing countries, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, are now receiving considerable sums in oil royalties, which are being used to finance large-scale development programmes, and we must do all we can to encourage them to spend these earnings in the sterling area, and particularly on United Kingdom manufactures. Syria and Lebanon, though not oil producers, are substantial and expanding markets in themselves and Lebanon is also an important centre of entrepôt trade.
I have, accordingly, decided to send a trade mission of prominent business men to the Middle East in November; the Governments of the countries to be visited have informed Her Majesty's Government that a mission would be 311W welcome and I am glad to say that Sir Edward Benthall has accepted my invitation to lead it.
The mission will be in a position to convey to these countries our desire and our ability to help them in the development of their economies and will be qualified to suggest means by which we may increase the export to them of our goods and services.