The March Trade Returns
It was to be expected that under the new tariff the imports of manufactured goods during March would show a substantial decline. Their total value, £13,030,000, was less by £7,117,000 than in February and less by £9,243,000 than in March, 1931. On the other hand the imports of raw cotton and wool increased in value by £1,800,000, and the import of wheat by £700,000, though the total value of the imports of raw materials and food- stuffs, ,£47,456,000, was virtually the same as a year ago. But the export trade by which we live is still depressed. Cotton exports to China went up by a million owing to the boycott of Japanese goods, but there was a heavy decrease in motor-ears, ships and the like, so that the total value of our exports at £31,196,000 was £2,793,000 less than in the previous March and £22,740,000 less than in 1930. Re-exports at £5,424,000 were the same as last year but less by a third than they were two years ago. Falling prices doubtless account for part of the decline in the export trade, but high tariffs, import and exchange restrictions and the poverty of the world at large account for a good deal more. Protection has cut down our imports, but the real problem is how to restore our exports, and this is an international and not a merely national question.
* * *