HC Deb 18 January 1988 vol 125 cc523-4W
Mr. Leighton

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what information he has as to what percentage of world trade takes place within general agreement on tariffs and trade rules and what percentage outside them.

Mr. Alan Clark

There are 95 full contracting parties to GATT, including most of the world's major trading nations. Economists estimate that these countries account for somewhat more than 80 per cent. of the world trade in goods. By implication, about 20 per cent. of such trade involves countries outside the general agreement. While the United Kingdom is steadfast in its adherence to GATT rules many contracting parties are, regrettably, in breach both of the rules themselves and of the rollback and standstill commitments. Accordingly, the percentage of trade taking place on a genuinely open basis will be much smaller. A principal objective of the new Uruguay round of multilateral trade negotiations is to bring about a higher level of conformity among the signatories to the general agreement.