HC Deb 06 July 1954 vol 529 cc1954-5
23. Mr. Nabarro

asked the President of the Board of Trade the general level of tariffs for British manufactured carpets and rugs entering respectively, India and Pakistan; also the tariffs upon Indian and Pakistani manufactured carpets entering the United Kingdom; whether reciprocity exists; what representations he has received in this regard; and what action he is contemplating, or taking.

Mr. Amory

In India and Pakistan the duties on United Kingdom woollen carpets and rugs are 31¼ per cent, ad valorem and 45 per cent. ad valorem, respectively. No Customs duty is charged in the United Kingdom on Indian and Pakistani carpets except on those containing silk. My right hon. Friend has received no recent representations from the industry and has no action in mind at present.

Mr. Nabarro

My right hon. Friend said a couple of weeks ago that conversations were being considered with the Indian Government about the inequalities which exist upon tariffs in the textile industry. When those conversations are conducted, will my right hon. Friend have special regard to the manifest inequality which exists in the case of carpets, which so seriously affects the industry in Kidderminster?

Mr. Amory

I do not think that I said the other day quite what my hon. Friend says I said. As to the position generally, we must remember that these tariffs are the result of trade agreements made with India in 1939 and with Pakistan in 1951, and it is right that we should consider the results of such trade agreements as a whole, and not one individual item.

Mr. Bottomley

Is it not a fact that both those agreements are favourable to the United Kingdom, and, in those circumstances, should we not be very careful before we consider taking further action?

Mr. Amory

I agree, in general, with what the right hon. Gentleman has said. I believe that both agreements are pretty favourable to this country.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will my right hon. Friend consider the question of jute carpets which are in a particularly difficult position? Could they not be put in the same category as hessian in the matter of protection?

Mr. Amory

I will consider what my hon. and gallant Friend has said. I am afraid that I cannot give him an answer now. I am not quite familiar with that point.