§ Mr. Wray
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the value is at current prices of United Kingdom(a) exports to and (b) imports from (i) Europe, (ii) Africa, (iii) Australasia, (iv) North America, (v) South America, (vi) the Middle East and (vii) Asia in each year since 1973; and what percentage of (A) UK and (B) world trade U K trade with these regions constituted in each of these years. 
§ Mr. Mike O'Brien
An answer to the question could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Information on UK trade, published by HM Customs and Excise, gives figures for selected regions of the world but these do not correspond to the regions required. It would, therefore, be necessary to use data for UK trade with individual countries and aggregate them to arrive at the totals for the required regions. UK trade data prior to 1988 are not available electronically so compiling this part of the answer would require manual entry of 6,000 numbers. Another 6,000 items of data would have to be downloaded from the trade database for more recent information on UK trade. Downloading recent data is complicated by various political changes that have taken place over the period in question, such as the break up of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, as well as the German unification. As a result of these changes, several countries did not exist in the earlier years but do now, while some that did exist earlier no longer do so. Finally, the combined set would have to be aggregated to provide trade statistics for the specified regions.
The second part of the question requires a comparison of trade by the UK, and the World. Information on world trade is available from the International Monetary Fund (Direction of Trade Statistics), but again, their regions do not correspond to those required to answer the question. For example, the IMF grouped centrally planned economies together, as a separate "region", although geographically they were in (Eastern) Europe, Asia and Central America. It would be necessary to calculate regional totals from those for individual countries. The IMF data are not available in electronic form so this procedure would entail manually compiling a database consisting of 30 years' worth of data for around 200 countries for two trade flows (imports and exports).
For strict comparability, it would be advisable to use the IMF source for UK trade rat her than Customs' figures. In all, this would entail manually compiling a 174W data set of around 24,000 figures, which would then need to be processed to arrive at the information required.