Eastern Europe

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 Mrs Renée Short Mrs Renée Short , Wolverhampton North East 12:00 am, 22nd November 1967

asked the President of the Board of Trade what proposals he has for improving trade with all countries of Eastern Europe; and what improvements he is introducing in his Department and bodies connected with it for the purpose of stimulating and encouraging trade with Eastern Europe.

Photo of Gwyneth Dunwoody Gwyneth Dunwoody , Exeter

Trade with most East European countries continues to expand satisfactorily. Our exports in the first 10 months of 1967 were 23 per cent. above those for the corresponding period of 1966. The Board of Trade, in conjunction with British embassies, the East European Trade Council and the other trade organisations concerned will continue to do all it can to foster this trade.

Photo of Mrs Renée Short Mrs Renée Short , Wolverhampton North East

Is my hon. Friend aware that trade with the whole of Eastern Europe, with its enormous population, is a derisory amount compared with the potential for exports that exists there? Can she say why the recently formed East European Centre has a member of the Opposition party appointed as its chairman? Was this the fault of the Board of Trade or the Foreign Office? Why were the officers of the Parliamenmentary East-West trade group not invited to take part in this?

Photo of Gwyneth Dunwoody Gwyneth Dunwoody , Exeter

We are always anxious to expand our trade with the Eastern European countries and there is good evidence that this is taking place. I understand that my hon. Friend is vice-chairman of the all-party East-West trade committee. I am sure that she will do everything she can to assist us in this work.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

While this trade is expanding, can the hon. Lady say whether the balance of trade is satisfactory with the Eastern European countries, particularly the U.S.S.R? In our economic plight, will the Board of Trade watch this very carefully?

Photo of Gwyneth Dunwoody Gwyneth Dunwoody , Exeter

We shall certainly do so, but the balance is very satisfactory.