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Export Statistics

Volume 19: debated on Monday 1 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade what information he has as to the proportion of exports from the United Kingdom which come from United Kingdom subsidiaries of foreign companies.

Foreign-controlled enterprises accounted for 29 per cent. of United Kingdom exports in 1979, the latest year for which data are available. The information is collected annually in the overseas transactions inquiry and was published in British Business on 3 July 1981.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that this shows that the subsidiaries of foreign multinationals in Britain are an essential and important part of our economy, providing many jobs? Does he also agree that they have been coming to this country increasingly now because, as a member of the Common Market, Britain provides them with access to a large market? Does he agree that if we left the Common Market the multinationals would cease to come, which would cost thousands of jobs in Britain?

There is no doubt that these companies play a very important part in our national economy, accounting for 21 per cent. of output and 15 per cent. of employment, as well as the export figure to which I referred. I am certain that their success depends on Britain being part of an open trade agreement, including open trade with Europe.