HC Deb 16 April 1947 vol 436 c174
29. Mr. T. Reid

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps are taken in respect of goods imported by Britain from the Colonies to ensure that colonial export duties levied before or after prices have been agreed on with the British Government for such imports, are not paid by British consumers.

Mr. Creech Jones

Where prices are agreed for bulk purchase transactions on a Government to Government basis, it is normally understood, if it is not provided for specifically in a contract, that no increase will be made in the existing rate of export duty except for seller's account, or, if the duty is paid by the purchasing Ministry, with that Ministry's prior agreement.

Mr. Reid

Is this country at present paying export duties on tea and copra?

Mr. Creech Jones

In regard to tea, the price is determined by the world market, and in any case the Ceylon Government had the right to impose duties, because contracts had expired.

Mr. W. Fletcher

With regard to Copra, will the right hon. Gentleman reply to the last part of the supplementary question? Is it not a fact that a 50 per cent. export duty on copra, imposed after the five-year contract had been signed, is costing this country £15 a ton?

Mr. Creech Jones

It is quite true that the Ministry of Food had a contract with the Ceylon Government on a f.o.b. basis which did not specifically cover this duty point.