7 December 1960 The Russians know that British business men are anxious to grasp the opportunities offered to them
Anyone who is concerned, as I am, with the development of Britain’s export trade must be struck at once by the contrast between the size, strength, and rapid development of the Soviet economy on the one hand, and by the relatively small flow of trade between Russia and the United Kingdom on the other. The United Kingdom sells barely 1 per cent of its exports to the Soviet Union, and we buy less than 2 per cent of our imports from them. Must this contrast continue? Is there not a valuable untapped market here for British goods which our firms can develop?
Of course no one thinks that the Soviet Union will wish to abandon its now traditional aim of building up home production of many things which might be obtained elsewhere, nor the priority which it accords heavy industry over the consumer. But if the Russians are now impressed with the advantages of international trade, and are ready gradually to expand their commercial contacts with the West on a fair and equitable basis, they will find us ready partners. Indeed, they know that British business men are anxious to grasp the opportunities offered to them. British exports to Russia were about £10 millions in 1954, and rose as high as £37 millions in 1957. In 1960 we may again establish a record.
Link : UK attempted trade deals with the Soviet Union – archive, 7 Dec 1960