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Volume 990: debated on Monday 4 August 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest assessment of patterns of exports of coal and coal products exported from the United Kingdom, and imported to the United Kingdom and the EEC, which he will be using as the basis of discussions in setting targets and forecasts with the Commission of the EEC over the next 20 years.

Over the past five years United Kingdom exports of coal and coal products have varied between 2·6 and 3·8 million tonnes per year and United Kingdom imports between 2·4 and 5·2 million tonnes per year. We expect the bulk of United Kingdom coal requirements to continue to be supplied by domestic production and both exports and imports to remain marginal by comparison. Imports of coal from third countries to the European Community as a whole are expected to increase rapidly over the next 20 years to perhaps treble their present levels by the year 2000.