HC Deb 01 May 1950 vol 474 c1382
5. Mr. John Grimston

asked the Minister of Supply what steps he proposes to take to ensure fair competition for those trades affected, in view of the fact that Japanese manufacturers have recently shipped to Europe copper wire rods at £90 per ton, while his Department's price was about £160 per ton

Mr. G. R. Strauss

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to copper wire rods exported from Japan in August last at £90 a metric ton f.o.b. Japanese ports, when the United Kingdom price of rods was £113 10s. a long ton delivered consumer's works and not £160 a ton as stated in the Question. At that time the equivalent American price was £117 5s. a ton f.a.s. New York. The question of Japanese competition in European markets is a matter for my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.

Mr. Grimston

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that had the London Metal Exchange been open, this difference in price would not have worked to the detriment of British manufacturers?

Mr. Strauss

There was very little difference in price, but to purchase this single parcel of copper would have involved an expenditure of dollars which we were not prepared to undertake.

Sir Herbert Williams

Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that a difference of 25 per cent. is very little?

Mr. Strauss

No, Sir. If the hon. Gentleman will add to the £90 about £15 for costs and freights, etc., he will see that there is little difference between that and the English price.