I understand that there has been a loss of business. I cannot estimate what the loss to the United Kingdom might be if it were necessary to maintain the present restrictions for a full year.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that is a very depressing Answer, particularly from a Department which is supposed to encourage exports? I am told that the loss amounts to £1½ million in premiums in Rhodesia, which is undermining the goodwill of Lloyd's Exchange. Is he aware that countries like South Africa intend to keep back part of their premiums as a guarantee against such action in future?
The hon. and gallant Gentleman exaggerates the figure. This is a unique situation. There is a rebellion in Rhodesia. The situation can only be resolved when constitutional government returns to Rhodesia.
Will the hon. Gentleman take steps to find out the answer to the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, West (Mr. Wingfield Digby)? This is a very serious matter and may have consequences outside the area we are concerned with.
Is not that a rather flippant Answer? Having by their policy of sanctions at a time of grave economic trouble for Britain thrown away a preferential market of at least £30 million a year, have the Government no useful advice to offer whatever?
The hon. Gentleman is tending to exaggerate. We have received few, if any, requests for advice and have had brought to our notice very few cases of hardship to exporters resulting from the sanctions.
The best way to reduce any loss to British trade is to bring the rebellion to an end as quickly as possible, and this is what the Government's policy of sanctions is intended to do.
Will the hon. Gentleman say whether it is in order for British exporters to keep in touch with their old customers in the hope of resuming trade after the rebellion is over, or whether this is against the advice of the Board of Trade?