HC Deb 27 July 1950 vol 478 cc669-70
21. Captain John Crowder

asked the President of the Board of Trade what quantities of artificial flowers are being imported from Czechoslovakia.

Mr. H. Wilson

The United Kingdom have agreed to issue licences, on application, for the import of £40,000 of artificial flowers and components from Czechoslovakia in the year 1950–51.

Captain Crowder

Is the Minister aware that these imported flowers are being sold at cut prices that may very well result in firms in this country having to close, which will result in unemployment? Will the right hon. Gentleman look into the question of raising the import duty from 25 per cent. to a higher figure?

Mr. Wilson

If there is evidence on the subject of unfair practice, I would be willing to look into the question of cutting the importation out altogether. If the price is unduly low compared with our own prices, we would certainly be prepared to consider the possibility of altering the tariff rate.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

In view of the unnecessary character of these imports would the right hon. Gentleman be willing to tell the Czechs: "No flowers, by request"?

Mr. Wilson

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that as long as any trade continues between the two countries it is necessary to have a small import of some of the traditional items which have entered into our trade in the past. The amount of flowers coming into this country is only a small proportion of what it was before the war.

Mr. Harrison

Is not the reply of my right hon. Friend an invitation to the Czechoslovak Government to increase the price of these flowers?

Mr. Wilson

I would not care if the prices were increased so much that no flowers came into the country.