20 DECEMBER 1940, Page 14


SIR,—In your issue of December 6th the author of the article entitled " After Victory" quotes one by Mr. George Peel in which he is said to observe that in 1929 under Free Trade British exports and re-exports reached a total of £839,00o,000. Under Protection they had fallen in 1938 and 1939 to £532,000,000 and £485,000,000 respectively. From this Mr. Peel appears to deduce, and your commentator to accept, that Free Trade is vastly superior to Protection. But surely before any such deduction can be made it is necessary to know what happened in the intervening years, and which years were under Free Trade and which under Protection. May I supply the deficiency?

The following is a table of the exports and re-exports, year by year, from 1929 to 1939: 1929 ... £839 million


•• £447 million 193o ... £658 million 1935 ••• £481 million

1931 ...

£455 million 1936 ... L501 million 1932 ... £416 million


••• £597 million 1933 ... £417 million 1938 ...


million 1939 ••• ••• •• • £485 million

Now Protection came into force on March 1st, 1932, so without being very far out we can call the years 1929, 193o and 1931 Free Trade years and the following years Protected. A glance at the table will show that the whole of the fall to which Mr. Peel draws attention, and more, had occurred by the end of 1931 ; that during the first year of Protection the fall continued, but that thereafter there was a steady rise until the end of the year 1937. The years 1938 and 1939 I think may be disregarded. I should very much like to know whether your commentator on a study of the above figures is, on second thoughts, prepared to endorse the deduction so glibly made by Mr. Peel.—