HC Deb 15 June 1950 vol 476 cc524-5
14. Mr. Douglas Marshall

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement with regard to the freeing of bulb imports from Holland in 1951.

Mr. H. Wilson

It has recently been decided, as part of our general policy of relaxing restrictions on imports from O.E.E.C. countries, to bring to an end the arrangements that have been in force for some years to regulate, in conjunction with the Netherlands authorities, the trade in bulbs from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom. Owing to the seasonal nature of the trade and the desirability of giving as long notice as possible to the bulb growers, it has been decided to let the present arrangements stand for the forthcoming season. As from 1st May, 1951, however, importers of bulbs from the Netherlands will no longer be required to produce proof to His Majesty's Customs that shipment of the bulbs has been authorised by the Netherlands Bulb Exporters' Association

Mr. Marshall

Is the Minister aware that during the war bulb growers were restricted to only 25 per cent. of their growing capacity, which involved a great capital loss, and that at that time it was agreed by His Majesty's Government that they should be allowed time to rehabilitate themselves? Is he further aware that some of the Dutch growers are also against taking away the present form of regulation on the import of Dutch bulbs into this country?

Mr. Wilson

That may be so in the case of certain Dutch growers, but this question was, of course, settled after consultation with the Dutch Government.

Major Legge-Bourke

Will the Minister say whether, before coming to this decision, he entered into consultation with the Minister of Agriculture, and whether he is quite satisfied that the position of the home bulb grower has been protected?

Mr. Wilson

I do not think it is usual to say, in any particular case, what consultation did or did not take place, but I can assure the House that on all questions concerning relaxation of restrictions there is the fullest consultation between my Department and the Ministry of Agriculture.