20 MAY 1922, Page 2

The. President of the Board of Trade gave the House

of Com- mons on Thursday, May 11th, a cautious review of the commercial situation. He detected signs of improvement in South America and the United States, and-thought that we could hold our-own in the Dominions. The increase of tariffs in many countries and attempts to discriminate against our shipping—the vital link of our Empire—were ominous. Our coal trade alone had got down to an economic level, but suffered from a lack of orders for coal for the factories. The iron and steel trades were not yet on a paying basis. The cotton trade was hampered by the disorganization of the Indian market. The wool trade and the electrical trades were fairly busy. Shipbuilders had suffered most of all. Mr. Baldwin inferred,_ however, from the relative stability of the index figure during the past few months and from the increase in the volume of exported manufactures that we might be on the eve of better times. - If we could combine with our old self-reliance more of a communal sense, especially in avoiding any deliberate stoppage of production, we should recover our position in the' trade of the world. Mr. Baldwin's tempered optimism accorded well with the opinion expressed elsewhere the .same night by Mr. McKenna.