asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many issues of the press notice of his Department on the monthly trade figures in the past two years have referred to, respectively, the growth of exports to and imports from the EEC; and why the number of such press notices issued by his Department has diminished.
The standard format of the press notice on the monthly overseas trade figures has, over the past two years at least, always included a reference to recent trends in the value of our exports to and imports from the EEC. However, largely as a result of certain distortions in recording, principally to imports, modifications were made to the format during 1979. It was possible, however, to make reference, where appropriate, to exports, which were little affected by this distortion. As a result, over the last two years 20 references have been made in the monthly press notice to our export trade with EEC, and 15 to our import trade.The decline in the number of press notices on the monthly trade figures issued this year results from the effect of industrial action by Her Majesty's Customs computer staff, which delayed the compilation of figures for February, March and April: these appeared in a combined press notice issued in June.