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Export Goods (Raw Materials)

Volume 400: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1944

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asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, with the greater supply of raw material now available, preference will be given to the production of goods for export rather than for home consumption.

The principal factor, now limiting the production of goods, both for home consumption and for export, is the supply of labour, on which, at this critical stage of the war, ever increasing demands are being made, and will continue to be made, in support of our military operations.

May I ask my right hon. Friend if he does not agree that it is in the long-term interest of the community to encourage the export trade, even if it means going without goods we should like at home?

Within reasonable limits, I think that is true but it is possible to carry that policy too far. At the moment, we must give first preference neither to export nor to home consumption, but to supporting our fighting men across the water.

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether, in view of the stress laid in the recent White Paper on the importance of the export trade, he and his staff in the Board of Trade are giving every possible attention to lifting, at the earliest moment, the bans on the export trade?

Yes, Sir, at the earliest moment consistent with the other considerations I have mentioned.