HL Deb 21 February 2005 vol 669 cc173-4WA
Lord Dykes

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will consider long-term steps to eliminate the United Kingdom visible trade balance deficit. [HL1243]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The most relevant measure of the UK trade deficit is not the absolute figure, but the deficit as a percentage of GDP. The UK trade deficit was 2.9 per cent of GDP in 2003, below the 4.1 per cent of GDP seen in 1989. The current account deficit was 1.7 per cent of GDP in the same period, less than half the peak of 5.1 per cent of GDP in 1989. The Government are committed to free trade and fighting trade protectionism and have put in place a range of measures aimed at boosting productivity and competitiveness. This is the best way to ensure that the UK economy is equipped to meet the challenges and exploit the opportunities of the global economy.