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South Africa

Volume 884: debated on Monday 13 January 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was Great Britain's visible trading surplus or deficit with South Africa in the most recent annual period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.

The "crude" balance of trade with South Africa, that is, the difference between exports fob and imports cif, was in surplus by £47 million in the 12 months ended November 1974. In recent years, our "crude" trade balance has generally been in surplus, although in 1973 there was, unusually a deficit. The improvement in 1974 owes much to a sharp rise in our exports to the South African market.

Do not those encouraging figures show once again that South Africa is one of our most valuable and reliable trading partners? Will the Secretary of State make it clear that it is his policy to encourage the expansion of trade with South Africa?

That question was answered in plain and unambiguous terms by the Foreign Secretary just before Christmas. South Africa is a major trading market for this country, but I should add that many other countries are now strongly entrenched in the South African market.