HC Deb 03 July 1952 vol 503 cc614-5
31. Mr. Stokes

asked the President of the Board of Trade why tobacco imports from Turkey fell from 5,800,000 kilos in 1950 to 1,400,000 kilos in 1951.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Probably because manufacturers and merchants considered that they already held large enough stocks. They can import as much Turkish tobacco as they like, since import licences are freely granted.

Mr. Stokes

Why does the President say "probably"? Why does he not find out? Is he aware that during the same period imports of American tobacco went up 50 per cent.? Obviously, this is a serious matter. Surely the trend ought to be the other way about.

Mr. Thorneycroft

I say "probably," because it is, after all, for manufacturers and merchants to make up their own minds, in those circumstances, whether they intend to import or otherwise.

Mr. Noel-Baker

In view of the great dollar difficulties from which we are suffering, cannot the President give us some more Turkish grown tobacco instead of American?

Mr. Thorneycroft

In fact, there has been a substantial rise in the total consumption of Turkish and Greek tobacco during that period.

Mr. K. Thompson

Is not it a fact that it is neither the President nor the manufacturers who decide in this matter, but the consuming public?

Mr. Stokes

Has the President satisfied himself that there is no link-up between the cigarette manufacturers in this country and the growers in America?

Mr. Thorneycroft

This Question refers to imports of tobacco from Turkey, and I have given the best answer I can.