1887

Commonwealth Trading Partners

As shown in Table II, the proportion of the total trade of Commonwealth countries which was conducted with other Commonwealth countries continued its secular decline, to 21 per cent in 1972, i.e. to a little over a fifth, compared with slightly over a quarter five years earlier. The major statistical element in the decline in 1972 was the absolute decline in the value of trade passing between Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth,* after a sharp upward jump in the preceding year. Though special factors may be adduced in explaining fluctuations between individual country markets, as shown in Appendix Tables 2 to 5, undoubtedly the chief causative element in the continuing relative decline of intra-Commonwealth trade is the concentration of British exports on buoyant Western European markets, the concentration of Canadian exports on the United States market, and the polarisation of trade in other regions to the detriment of trade with Britain (Tables 6 to 11).

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