HC Deb 05 May 1938 vol 335 cc1033-4
84 and 90. Commander Bower

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether he has any information as to any increase which has taken place during recent years in the amount of subsidy which is paid by the German Government to manufacturers of German goods exported to this country; and, if so, what, if any, have been the increases;

(2) whether he will make a statement as to the Government's attitude towards the system of subsidies at present employed by the German Government in respect of goods exported to this country; and whether he will give the House such information as is in the Government's possession in this regard?

87 and 88. Mr. Gartland

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether he will take steps to see that the invoice value for customs purposes of goods exported from Germany to this country takes into account the subsidy which is paid by the German Government on such goods?

(2) whether he has information as to whether all exports of goods from Germany to this country are subsidised by the German Government or whether the subsidy system is confined to certain classes of goods; and, if so, what those goods are?

Captain Wallace

Some general information regarding export subsidies to German manufacturers is contained in a report issued by the Department of Overseas Trade entitled "Economic Conditions in Germany," which is available to hon. Members in the Library; but details of any arrangement made between the Government and industry in Germany are never disclosed. It is, therefore, not possible to say whether there has been an increase in any subsidy given to German exports or if all the exports to this country are covered. It will be appreciated that it is open to industries in this country, except those excluded from the scope of the Import Duties Act, 1932, to approach the Import Duties Advisory Committee in regard to foreign competition from whatever cause it arises, and my right hon. Friend will always consider direct representations from industries outside the scope of the Import Duties Act. The value for the purpose of the charge of Customs duty ad valorem is the price the goods would fetch on importation into this country under the conditions specified in Section 10 of the Finance Act, 1935.

Commander Bower

Would it not be desirable, both from our own point of view and that of the German Government, if we were put in possession of more detailed figures than are at present available, and could not His Majesty's Government approach the German Government with a view to trying to get their help in this matter?

Captain Wallace

It might be eminently desirable from our point of view, but, unfortunately, the German Government have consistently declined to publish information.

Mr. H. G. Williams

Is not the duty of our Ministers to the people of this country and not to the German Government?