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Balance Of Payments

Volume 986: debated on Monday 16 June 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his latest estimate of the balance of payments surplus on Great Britain's trade with non OPEC countries for the financial year 1979–80; how this compares with the trade balance with European Economic Community member States; and if he will make a statement

In the year ended March 1980, the United Kingdom had a visible trade deficit of £2·2 billion with the European Community and a deficit of £900 million with the remaining non-oil exporting countries.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that the balance of payments surplus of manufactures with the developing world is very substantial, standing at about £2·1 billion? Does he recognise the importance of the developing world as a market for British manufactured goods? Will he take steps to ensure that his colleagues in the Cabinet know of the importance of that, in view of the recent report of the Brandt Commission?

The House will be debating the Brandt report this afternoon. I entirely agree that the interdependence of the developed and developing worlds is crucial for everybody's future security and welfare. My hon. Friend is also right to say that at the moment we have a favourable balance of over £2 billion in manufacturing trade with those countries.