HC Deb 12 December 1983 vol 50 cc297-8W
Mr. Deakins

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he is satisfied with the trend in the export-import ratio for trade in manufactures with the EC over the past four years;

(2) what have been the trends in the volume of manufactured imports from the EC and the rest of the world, respectively, in the past five years; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Channon

The trend in the export-import ratio for trade with other EC countries in manufactures has declined by 22 to 23 per cent. The level of the ratio for trade with the EC countries is also similar to that for trade with the other advanced industrial countries in the OECD. Data on the volume of manufactures imported from the EC countries are not available, but the value of these imports has risen from around 12 billion in 1978 to around £17 billion in the first nine months of 1983, approximately the same pattern followed by the imports from the rest of the world.

It is important that trade in oil, services and other invisible transactions should not be overlooked. In 1982 the United Kingdom had surpluses on trade with other EC countries of over £4¾ billion on fuels, including oil, and almost £¾ billion on invisible trade.

Government policy is directed towards creating the right economic conditions for manufacturing industry to compete in all our markets and the recent improvement in our unit labour costs relative to our international competitors is a welcome sign of success in that aim. In the domestic market over 70 per cent. of the demand for manufactures is met by home production.