HC Deb 24 November 1953 vol 521 cc188-9
47. Mr. Turner

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will furnish particulars of the amount of titanium dioxide sold by the United Kingdom to Canada during the past 12 months; if he is aware of the concern felt by British manufacturers about the present shortage of this material; and what action he proposes to take.

Mr. Amory

I regret that the information for which my hon. Friend asks is not available since exports of titanium dioxide are not separately recorded in the trade statistics. To ensure as far as possible that the valuable market which has been built up in Canada should not be lost, we thought it right not to ask manufacturers to divert supplies to meet the temporary shortage at home, particularly since new plant is in the course of erection. In the meantime, however, it has been decided to allow sufficient dollar imports to meet all reasonable requirements.

Mr. Turner

Whilst I appreciate that my right hon. Friend cannot give exact figures, may I ask whether a matter of 7,000 tons would be about the correct figure? Secondly, does he appreciate that the purchase of titanium dioxide from Germany and other Continental sources would be approximately 300 per cent. in excess of current home supplies?

Mr. Amory

I am sorry that I cannot confirm whether my hon. Friend is right or wrong in the figures which he has just given, because I am unable to separate them from other statistics. But I would emphasise the temporary nature of this difficulty and how highly undesirable it would be to interrupt an increasing export business.

Mr. Bottomley

Would not the right hon. Gentleman emphasise the general importance of increased exports to Canada?

Mr. Amory

I could not agree more with the right hon. Gentleman.