Western Mail, April 6th, 1933
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Act authorising the prohibition of Soviet imports makes it lawful for the
Government to prohibit by Proclamation the importation into the United Kingdom
of all goods grown, produced, or manufactured In the Soviet Union.
If the Government
makes use of the powers a severe blow will be dealt to Soviet foreign trade,
which has already suffered from the world crisis Soviet exports declined from,
approximately, £92,000,000 in 1928 to £56,000,000 in 1932. This decline was
due to the great fall in world prices.
Britain buys no more from Soviet Russia this dwindling foreign trade will be
reduced by still another third, for the British market has in the past absorbed
usually about 30 per cent, of Soviet exports and is, moreover, the only possible
outlet for a number of Russia’s raw commodities.
In 1931 the
United Kingdom bought £32,179,000 worth of goods from the Soviet Union, and
sold goods in return to the value of only £9,044,000 - Thus there was an
adverse balance of £23,000,000.
Should an end be
put to Anglo-Soviet trade the loss to British exporters would thus not exceed £9,000,000
and would probably be far less, because the Soviets are drastically cutting down
their orders abroad.
The main goods
which the United Kingdom exports to Russia are chemicals, ferrous metals,
textile machinery, electrical appliances, and iron and steel manufactures.
Before the war Great Britain exported: 6,998,434 tons of coal, to the value of
£4,336,000, to Russia, but in 1932 only £8,800 tons were exported, to the
value of £42,701. The coal industry will, therefore, be little affected by an
embargo on Soviet goods.
Chief Soviet Exports
The main exports
of the Soviet Union are wheat, butter, oil, furs, timber, eggs, etc.. The export
of most of these products, however, declined rapidly last year. In the first ten
months of 1932 - Russia exported wheat to the value of approximately £1,200,000,
compared with £6,800,000 in 1931. The export of butter declined from about £4,700,000
in 1931 to about £600,000 in 1932.
The imports of
timber from Russia into Great Britain have also declined in value. In 1930 the
Soviet Union exported £7,423,000 worth of soft wood (not planed or
dressed). In 1932 the value was £4,522,000. In 1932 the United Kingdom imported
£985,000 worth of pit-props from Russia.
rapid decline in the value of Soviet exports made it difficult for the Soviet
Union to meet its payments abroad. Up to share, and the Soviet Union’s
inability to pay would be a blow to German finances.
The breakdown in
Soviet foreign trade is no bright news for the capitalist world, for it means
default on large payments. The main causes, namely, the decline in prices, the
tariffs of the world, and the decreasing agricultural production of Russia,
have, however, long been in effect.
An embargo on
Soviet goods would be another factor damaging their exports.
is no doubt that Sir Esmond Ovey has placed the facts about the whole situation
before the Government. His testimony is all the more to be believed on account
of his former sympathy for the Soviet Government.
he went to Moscow from Mexico three years ago he was immediately impressed by
Russia’s achievements. Some of the Moscow-British colony thought that he was
too pro-Bolshevik. Indeed, I often heard him accused of prejudice in favour of
the Soviet Government, and of a lack of perception of their difficulties.
He has recently,
however, become fully aware of the catastrophic conditions in Russia, as I
gathered a fortnight ago in the Embassy in Moscow. He is often accused of being
tactless, but in his firm handling of the present case he has earned the praise of the most critical journalists in Moscow.
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