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Volume 894: debated on Monday 23 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he hopes to make a further visit to Brazil.

While no date has been fixed, I look forward to a further visit to Brazil in due course as part of the closer governmental consultation provided for by the memorandum of understanding between our two Governments which will be signed here next autumn.

What is the Department doing to promote joint industrial ventures in Brazil?

We have given all kinds of assistance, technical and financial, to British firms which are seeking, as indeed they must in the Brazilian context, to establish joint ventures or partnership ventures so that they can build up their trade with Brazil. I must say that I am considerably encouraged by the progress in the increase of our exports to that country.

Will the right hon. Gentleman go to Brazil as soon as he possibly can to study how the Brazilians have managed to control inflation in a quite remarkable way—a way which, one hopes, his own Government will very soon follow?

I went to Brazil last summer and took the opportunity to study many aspects of the Brazilian economy. Although I should not in any way seek to understate its achievements in containing inflation, I think the hon. Gentleman should be aware that the major result of Brazilian policy lies in how to live with inflation rather than how to abolish it, and I am not at all sure that that is the lesson we should wish to learn.

From his experience in Brazil, does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the Brazilians were extremely successful in reducing their rate of inflation, from three figures down to a level which is, in fact, lower than the rate at which ours is now running? Is that not, therefore, an experiment which we should watch with care?

We should always be prepared to look and to learn from other countries, but, as the hon. Gentleman rightly said, the experience of Brazil 10 years ago was of inflation running at three figures—a quite fantastic rate—and Brazil's success was one of reducing inflation to a rate of 20 per cent. or 30 per cent. a year. That is an enormous relative achievement, but I hope that we shall be able to do far better ourselves.