HL Deb 19 January 2005 vol 668 c111WA
Lord Dykes

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they propose to take to reduce the visible trade deficit. [HL654]

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.

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