2. Mr. Gresham Cooke
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will consider the low proportion of exports of machinery and machine tools by British manufacturers to Hong Kong and Japan; and what steps he proposes to take to improve exports there.
§ Mr. Maudling
United Kingdom exports of machinery to Japan have increased this year and we are still the principal supplier of machinery to Hong Kong. But there is scope for increasing exports of machinery, including machine tools, to both these markets. I have brought to the notice of the industries concerned the increased opportunities afforded by the further liberalisation of Japanese machinery imports.
Mr. Gresham Cooke
While appreciating that my right hon. Friend has brought this matter to the notice of the industries concerned, may I ask him whether he is aware that during a recent visit of mine to Hong Kong and Tokyo I made inquiries into our share of the export market of machine tools and found that it was, unfortunately, only 5 or 6 per cent., and also that the German industry had made tremendous strides in that part of the world? Is my right hon. Friend further aware that in my opinion there is a real need for a Far Eastern export drive from this country?
§ Mr. Maudling
I think that the figures depend very much on the basis one uses. In 1959 as a whole we were providing 32 per cent. of Hong Kong's import of machine tools. I am quite sure from my contacts with the industry that it is well aware of the extremely important market which there is in Japan at the present moment for machine tools.