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European Community—United Kingdom (Balance Of Trade)

Volume 974: debated on Wednesday 21 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will circulate in the Official Report a table showing how many jobs would be created if the adverse balance of trade between the United Kingdom and the EEC Six could be eliminated as a result of a reduction in imports of (a) iron and steel, (b) motor cars, (c) commercial vehicles, (d) clothing and textiles and (e) mechanical engineering products, assuming that the output per head in each industry remained the same as at present.

[pursuant to his reply, 15 November 1979, c. 734]: No. The United Kingdom is a world trading nation and it would not be practicable to break down the balance of trade in individual sectors in employment terms without also estimating the effects on jobs of any likely retaliation by our trading partners. Our membership of the EEC commits as to free circulation of goods within its countries so the way to reduce imports is to improve the competitiveness and productivity of our own industry.