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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 23 Apr 1969

Vol. 239 No. 13

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Adverse Trade Balance.


asked the Taoiseach (a) the amount of Ireland's adverse trade balance at the 31st March, 1969, (b) the reasons for it and (c) what action the Government intend to take during the coming year to reduce it.

It is estimated that, in the 12 months ended the 31st March, 1969, imports totalled £507.7 million and exports totalled £338.4 million. There was, therefore, an import excess on visible trade estimated at £169.3 million. About 75 per cent of total imports is accounted for by imports of capital goods and materials for further production.

There is normally an import surplus on visible trade, offset by net receipts on invisible items. For the year 1968— the latest for which such estimates are available—it is estimated that net invisible exports were £137 million.

The current external trade situation is under review at present in the context of framing the Government's overall policy of demand management of the economy. This policy will be indicated in the forthcoming financial statement of the Minister for Finance.

Does the Taoiseach think this adverse trade balance of £169 million is a healthy sign for our economy? Does he not believe we are heading for bankruptcy unless the Government do something to correct our trading figures with England and with other countries?

The important thing is to have an overall balance, and we have been doing that fairly well over the past ten years.

Yet we had a financial crisis in 1965 and we are heading for another one now.