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Trade Figures

Volume 951: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when and why the collection of detailed trade figures for Northern Ireland was discontinued; and if he intends to reintroduce the practice.

The last "Trade of Northern Ireland" report containing statistics on Northern Ireland's external trade was published for the year 1974. The report was discontinued because statistics on trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain—which is the major element of Northern Ireland's external trade —had become increasingly unreliable, as a result of the growth of containerised traffic and other commercial developments. There is no statutory authority for obtaining more reliable statistics by requiring shipper to supply statistical details of cross-Channel shipments, which are part of internal United Kingdom trade, and it would be undesirable to place demands on Northern Ireland traders for which there is no equivalent in Great Britain. There are, therefore, no plans to reintroduce the "Trade of Northern Ireland" report.