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Volume 21: debated on Monday 29 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied with the level of exports.

Our recent export performance is encouraging and I hope that we can build on the recent improvements in our labour cost competitiveness.

Should not British industry be congratulated on what is by any yardstick a fine performance at a time of world trade recession? Additionally, should not my right hon. Friend be happy with the way in which his Department and others have given every possible assistance to British exporters?

I am certain that the whole House would wish to congratulate British industry on securing the orders, which sustain employment. I take note of my hon. Friend's second point.

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied with the level of exports to Russia, bearing in mind that the value of imports from that country has consistently been twice the value of our exports there? Is there not a case for further bargaining with the Russians to encourage them to take more of our goods and to help trade between our two countries to flourish?

I should welcome an expansion of trade with the Soviet Union, consistent with our other international obligations.