asked the Minister for Finance if the Government have any plans to impose emergency restrictions on the importation of British goods in view of the present adverse trade balance with that country.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Importation of British Goods.
No. Our international obligations—under the Free Trade Area Agreement and under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade—do not permit us to impose restrictions on imports from a particular country in order to redress an adverse trade balance with that country. Restrictions may be applied in the interests of the general balance-of-payments situation but only on a multilateral basis.
I should, perhaps, mention that while we had a trade deficit with the United Kingdom in 1968 it amounted to less than one-ninth of our total trade deficit with all countries. Preliminary indications are that we had a surplus on our current balance of payments with the United Kingdom in 1968.