HC Deb 04 December 1922 vol 159 cc1160-1
17. Mr. C. ROBERTS

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that 80 drums of permanganate of potash, which arrived at the Salford Docks, Manchester, ex steamship "Stad Utrecht," on the 2nd October, 1922, are still held by the Customs pending decision as to liability under the above Act; that repeated requests have been made to the Customs for this matter to be decided, but no reply of a satisfactory nature can be obtained; whether he is aware that the heavy delay in these cases hampers or prevents trade; and will he endeavour to make arrangements at the Customs to have this Act, until it is repealed, carried out in a businesslike manner?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Baldwin)

I am informed that the consignment of permanganate of potash referred to in the question was declared on importation to be of commercial quality, and, as such, free of duty. As there was reason to doubt the accuracy of the declaration, tests of representative samples were taken and, as a result, the goods were found to be of "R" quality and liable to Key Industry Duty. Instructions have now been given as to the conditions under which release of the consignment may be obtained.


Is it not possible to arrange that these long delays should be avoided?


Quite easily. It depends on the quality of the goods.


Will the right hon. Gentleman have the analysis laid upon the Table?

20. Mr. FOOT

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that under the item R potassium permanganate, scheduled in the list of articles liable to duty under Part I of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, the Customs are levying the duty on importations of potassium permanganate of commercial quality that is for use for industrial purposes and, in view of the fact that the R quality is only meant to refer to the pure quality, will he instruct the Customs accordingly?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. Duty is not charged by the Customs on permanganate of potash unless of R quality. I may remind the hon. Member that if a claim for duty on a specific consignment is disputed on the ground that the goods are not of dutiable quality, it is open to the importer to apply to have the matter referred to a referee under Section 11 of the Safeguarding of Industries Act.

Captain BENN

What does this letter "R" stand for—an English word?


I have nothing to do with the Act now.


Has the cost of the reference to which the right hon. Gentleman refers to be borne by the trader who is making the complaint?


I should like notice of that question.