HC Deb 27 November 1933 vol 283 cc493-5
70. Mr. T. SMITH

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether the is aware of the complaints regarding the administration of the Additional Import Duties (No. 5) Order, 1932, with respect to foliage, covering leaves dried and pressed into bales for manufacture into drugs; that if the leaves are cut up they are subject only to the ordinary 10 per cent. duty instead of the duty of 2d. per pound, and that the cutting of these leaves has hitherto provided employment in this country; and will he have inquiries made into the administration of the order with a view to enabling traders to determine the cost of their goods in advance?


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will consider the method and manner of administration of the regulations governing the Additional Import Duties (No. 5) Order, 1932, as they are causing hardship to traders, especially in regard to crude drugs in the form of leaves dried and pressed into bales; and if he will reconsider the position as to the cutting of such leaves, in order to avoid throwing English labourers out of employment?


I am advised that the dried leaves referred to come within the scope of the duty imposed on foliage by the Additional Import Duties (No. 5) Order, 1932: but that such leaves if imported already cut up or ground do not come within the charge. The question of any alteration of the scope of the existing duty is a matter for consideration in the first place by the Import Duties Advisory Committee, with whom I understand the interests concerned have already communicated. With regard to the last part of the question of the hon. Member for the Normanton Division (Mr. T. Smith) I will have further inquiries made if he will let me have details of the particular cases he has in mind.


Is the hon. Member aware that application was made by the industry concerned to the Import Duties Advisory Committee as long ago as May last, and that last October the Import Duties Advisory Committee said that they were unable to say when they could give their decision? Can anything be done to expedite it?


I was not aware of the facts stated by the hon. Member.


Would the hon. Member consider re-opening this matter in view of the fact that in many cases the raw material, because of the duties imposed, comes into this country at dearer prices than the manufactured article?


The hon. Member is aware that it is a matter for the Import Duties Advisory Committee, and that their attention has been called to it.