HC Deb 18 November 1930 vol 245 cc222-5
27. Mr. A. M. SAMUEL

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will ascertain the amount and value of sugar products for delivery in Britain which the Soviet Government has been selling; and will he ascertain and state whether those products were sold at prices below the prices of similar goods produced in Britain?


The imports of sugar products registered as consigned from the Soviet Union (Russia) during the nine months ended 30th September, 1930, consisted mainly of liquid glucose (129,184 cwts.) and confectionery (8,962 cwts.) the declared value of which was £85,559 and £23,192 respectively. Statements have been made that some such goods have been sold at less than the general market price in this country, but I have no means of ascertaining the prices at which particular consignments of goods are sold.

33. Lieut.-Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL

asked the President of the Board of Trade what was the value of the petrol imported into Great Britain from Russia during the 12 months ended 30th June, 1930; and what percentage of this amount represents labour costs?


During the 12 months ended 30th June, 1930, the declared value of the total imports of petroleum motor spirit into Great Britain and Northern Ireland registered as consigned from the Soviet Union (Russia) was £2,801,930. I have no information regarding the second part of the question.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say who imported this petrol and who purchased it?


I am afraid I must ask my hon. Friend for notice of that question.

34. Sir F. HALL

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the tinned salmon industry of British Columbia is being seriously affected by the dumping by the Soviet Government of tinned salmon produced under labour conditions which make it impossible for British Columbian firms to compete successfully in the British markets, and that Holland and other countries have, in the special conditions which obtain, placed an embargo on the entry of Soviet food ships; and what action the British Government propose to take to put an end to this undercutting of Imperial industries rendered possible by the wholesale employment of unpaid labour by the Russian Government?


The statistics for the first 10 months of the year show an increase in imports of canned salmon from Canada this year compared with last year and a heavy decrease in imports from Russia. I have no information as to any action taken in regard to the importation of Russian goods by the Netherlands Government, but a reference to action taken in France and Belgium was made in my answer to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) on 4th November. With regard to the last part of the question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given on 3rd November to the hon. Member for Kingston-on-Thames (Sir G. Penny).


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Britain formerly used 80 per cent. of the salmon exported from British Columbia and that that figure has now gone down to 10 per cent.; and is he further aware that the decrease is in consequence of this importation?


That is a rather debatable point. There are many other factors.

38. Mr. ALBERY

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many tons of Russian wheat have been imported into this country during the month of October?


During the month of October, 1930, 3,294,000 cwts. of wheat imported into this country were registered as consigned from the Soviet Union (Russia).


Can the right hon. Gentleman say what proportion was consigned to the Co-operative Society?


I certainly could not say without notice and I am not sure that I could do so, even with notice.


Since the Government are comparing this year with the past year, may I ask if it is not the fact that last year the figure was zero?


I think it was very small or at all events negligible, but I must warn the right hon. Gentleman against erroneous deductions.


How does the figure of 3,294,000 cwts. compare with the corresponding figure for October, 1913?


The hon. Member should give notice of that question.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Board are still without information as to arrangements which have been made by the Russian Soviet Government to dump doors, probably to the number of 600,000, on the British market next year at prices considerably under the wage cost involved and apart from any charge for materials used; and, if so, will the Board make inquiries in the timber market on the matter and inform the House of the action which the Government propose to take in the interest of British joiners?


I fear I can add nothing to the reply which I made to a question by the hon. Member on this subject on Tuesday last.


Are the Government going to hold their hands and not make any inquiries, in view of the urgency of this question the accuracy of which is not, I understand, disputed, while all our working men are put out of employment?


The hon. Member will appreciate that this question refers to what is to happen next year. I have already informed the House that I can only deal with current imports, and, as a matter of fact, in this field they are very small indeed.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is the time when great contracts are made for the new season, and will he take steps to see whether it would not be advisable to prohibit the importation of these doors into this country before the contracts are made?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that most other countries in the world are making protests?