HC Deb 10 April 1922 vol 153 cc5-6

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the report in the Press that all the importers of meat from South America have now joined the meat trust controlled by American importers: whether the object of this trust is to restrict imports so as to increase prices to retailers and consumers; whether his Department has any power in this matter to prevent this increase of prices of meat to the people of this country; and can he make any general statement on the subject?


I am informed that it is not correct that all the importers of meat from South America have joined what the hon. Member calls the "meat trust." With regard to the second part of the question, I would remind the hon. Member that a Sub-Committee appointed by the Standing Committee on Trusts under the Profiteering Acts, 1919 and 1920, reported in 1920 that "no complaint was made of unfair trading on the part of the American companies beyond severe cutting of prices for the purpose of developing trade or clearing surplus stocks." If, is also understood that for a considerable part of the past 12 months the importation of frozen beef, at least, from South America, has been carried on at a loss. I do not consider, therefore, that an emergency has arisen which would justify the interference of His Majesty's Government.