Argentina, Brazil and Egypt (Trade)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th October 1952.

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Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East 12:00 am, 30th October 1952

asked the President of the Board of Trade what are the reasons for the contraction of imports from Argentina, Brazil and Egypt during the last nine months; and what steps are being taken to expand both import and export trade with these countries.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

Imports from these countries have fallen mainly because the goods we would have wanted to buy were not available, were dearer than elsewhere or because our stocks were already high. The sterling earnings of these countries have consequently been lower and they have in turn cut down their imports of United Kingdom goods.

While Her Majesty's Government are fully conscious of the desirability of increasing our trade with these countries, I would remind the hon. Member that if these countries make available adequate supplies of goods we need at the right price, our imports will increase and they will be able to earn more sterling with which they can, according to the circumstances, either pay back arrears of debt for goods already delivered or increase their imports from this country.

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

Is it not a fact that we are stabilising, or at least the tendency is to stabilise, our import account on a low level? At a time when there is a contraction of international trade which is very bad for all concerned, are not some of these countries making bilateral trading arrangements with other countries at our expense? Are we not getting better figures for our exports? Unless we get this two-way traffic, will it not be very bad for all of us?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

This Question is not easy to answer. It covers three separate countries with rather different features applying to each one of them, but in general, as I said in my original answer, it is true that they are all short of sterling; and in the main that is because the cost of the goods which they wish to sell is above world prices.