British Week Trade Fairs

Oral Answers to Questions — Board of Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1967.

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Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West 12:00 am, 22nd November 1967

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a statement on the value of British Weeks abroad, with particular reference to the recent British Weeks in Brussels and Toronto.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

asked the President of the Board of Trade how much public money has been spent each year, respectively, since 1961 on promoting British Week trade fairs overseas; and what studies have been made, with what con- clusions, as to the cost effectiveness of the outlay.

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I am satisfied that the British Weeks, of which eight have been held since 1964, have provided a valuable and effective method of promoting British exports. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement of the cost of each of these Weeks. It is difficult to assess the increased trade attributable to a particular British Week, but I am assembling all available information about the results of a number of Weeks, including those of Brussels and Toronto, both of which appear to have been most successful. In the light of this information I shall keep future policy under review.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, of whatever auxiliary assistance such weeks may be, they are no substitute for the will to sell exports? In what ways does my right hon. Friend hope that a stronger will can be demonstrated following devaluation? For example, has he considered rationalisation of the motor car industry and a concentration on fewer models with adequate after-sales service?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I would certainly agree that British Weeks are in no sense a substitute for the will to export and for the normal sales export effort. As I told the House yesterday, I propose to have early meetings with the C.B.I. and the British National Export Council to see whether there is any more aid that the Government can give.

Mr. Boardman:

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the highest praise should be given to those industrialists and others who have voluntarily given so much of their time within B.N.E.C. to export promotion? Does he not also agree that the important thing is follow-up and the ability of manufacturers to get their goods through the docks?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I would certainly echo the tribute to the voluntary time given by all businessmen connected with the B.N.E.C. I would strongly agree with the hon. Gentleman that the essential thing is that British Weeks should not be a glamorous once-for-all episode. What really matters is the follow-up effort afterwards. As to the hon. Gentleman's remark about the docks, I must point out that 93 per cent. of the dockers in Britain are working. One must not get that position out of perspective.

Following is the statement:

£
1964
Dusseldorf95,670
Denmark80,681
1965
Amsterdam84,272
Milan142,817
1966
Hong Kong72,381
Lyons95,429
1967
Brussels111,850
Toronto152,500