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Volume 689: debated on Thursday 1 March 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What special measures they will take to reduce the United Kingdom trade deficit of £56 billion in 2006. [HL2116]

The Government's strategy continues to be to ensure that there is strong competition in every UK market by promoting openness to free trade, minimising product market regulation and ensuring that the UK's competition enforcement authorities are world class. Similarly, the Government actively engage trading partners to promote best practice of free trade and the reduction of international trade barriers.

The economy is very different from when the deficit last peaked in 1989. The current account deficit was 5.1 per cent in 1989, whereas it was just 2.4 per cent of GDP in 2005. Moreover, the current account can be readily financed.