HC Deb 22 April 1948 vol 449 c1981
11. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the President of the Board of Trade what imports from Belgium are to be authorised during the next six months.

Mr. H. Wilson

On present indications, the value of imports to be authorised from Belgium for the six months ending 3oth September will be about £16 to £18 million. The detailed working-out of the Agreement is kept under review by an Anglo-Belgian Committee set up specially for the purpose.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Will my right hon. Friend do what he can to ensure that imports of horticultural glass, for example, are increased to encourage British food production?

Mr. Wilson

I shall do all I can to maintain and, where possible, to increase the necessary imports, but not if we have to pay for them in gold.

Mr. John Lewis

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, in spite of the strict import licensing arrangements, commodities which are brought in, such as steel and so on, are subject to Import Duty? In view of the fact that only essential commodities are brought into the country, will he take steps to ensure that this will be done away with as soon as possible, because it has the effect of increasing the price of British goods manufactured from these raw materials?

Mr. Wilson

Import duties are imposed under Acts of Parliament over a long period, and I could not give an assurance of the kind for which the hon. Gentleman asks.