HC Deb 23 February 1954 vol 524 cc200-1
41. Mr. Sorensen

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps have been taken to increase the export of British goods to Japan; what Japanese tariffs are imposed on such exports; what type of Japanese imports into this country have increased during the past six months; and what commodities in these imports are in competition with similar commodities produced here.

Mr. Amory

In the recent agreement, the Japanese undertook to maintain their imports from the United Kingdom at not less than the 1953 level, and we secured specific quotas for wool yarns and manufactures, motor cycles, whisky and confectionery, for which the Japanese had made no provision in their current import programme. The Japanese tariff on most classes of wool doth is 20 per cent., on motor cycles 30 per cent., on whisky 50 per cent, and on confectionery 35 per cent, ad valorem.

Imports from Japan into the United Kingdom in the second half of 1953 decreased by £3.5 million below the first half; but within the total there were increases in some groups of which the main ones were grain and flour, wood and timber, raw silk, seeds and nuts for oil, and manufactures of wood and timber. These are mainly raw materials and semi-manufactures and do not compete with United Kingdom products to any extent.

Mr. Sorensen

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has worked out a comparison between these two countries to discover whether one or the other is getting some advantage in trade, and whether there is some differentiation in the tariffs imposed? May I also ask whether any step has been taken towards securing some reciprocity?

Mr. Amory

I think the hon. Gentleman will agree that the only really satisfactory trade agreement is an agreement which works out to the advantage of both sides. We believe that this agreement falls very definitely into that category, and we believe that, from our own point of view, the effect will be very much to the net advantage of the United Kingdom.