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East Germany

Volume 655: debated on Thursday 15 March 1962

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asked the President of the Board of Trade what are the results of the consultations he has had with the Federation of British Industries concerning quotas governing trade with East Germany in 1962.

The results are reflected in the unofficial trade arrangements for 1962 recently concluded by the Federation of British Industries with the East German Chamber of Foreign Trade. This provides for United Kingdom exports to East Germany of £8·4 million and for United Kingdom imports of £9·1 million, both totals being the same as in the 1961 trade arrangement.

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with these figures, in view of the fact that West Germany's trade with East Germany totals about £88 million a year compared with our figure of £8 million? In view of the drive West Germany is making to get East German trade, should not we be doing something to match her aggressive selling?

Our exporters are doing what they can, but we must remember that the East Germans are not prepared to grant us bigger quotas than the figures I have indicated.

How much of the amount mentioned covers commission at ¼ per cent.? Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any quota of political contact men engaged in this trade?