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Volume 21: debated on Monday 29 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade what are the amounts of exports and imports to China over each of the past four years.

The value of trade with China in the years 1978–80 is given in tables II—imports—and V—exports—of the 1979 annual edition and the December 1980 issue of the Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom, copiesof which are in the Library. Information for the 1981 calendar year is not yet available, owing to last year's Civil Service dispute.

May I thank the Minister for such a non-reply? Is he satisfied that we are making the attempt s that we should to increase trade with China, taking into account the fact that it will have a population of 1, 000 million within the next few years, which is a tremendous market? Should we not have greater contact with China than at present?

I believed that I was assisting the hon. Gentleman, so that he would know where the figures for which he asked are available. This is a matter mainly for my hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Trade. I visited China to discuss not only health matters but general trade matters and there is a deep concern in both countries that we should increase trade in exactly the way that the hon. Gentleman has in mind.