HC Deb 22 June 1954 vol 529 cc221-2
30. Mr. Grimond

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will remove the import duty on linseed and linseed oil.

Mr. Amory

No, Sir. These duties were imposed as a result of the 1932 Ottawa Agreement with India, under which Her Majesty's Government undertook to maintain a margin of preference of 10 per cent. ad valorem on linseed and of 15 per cent. ad valorem on linseed oil imported from India and other Commonwealth countries. These margins of preference were again guaranteed in the Trade Agreement with India, which was signed on 20th March, 1939.

Mr. Grimond

As from the answer to the previous Question it appears that India is not treating us quite fairly, in all respects, would it not be a good bargaining counter with India? After all, linseed and linseed oil are important raw materials in a number of industries in this country.

Mr. Amory

I would say to the hon. Member, as I said just now, that it would be a very important change to get away from our present policy with regard to duty-free imports from the Commonwealth. I doubt if at this moment it would be a good thing to do as he suggests. We must look at the overall effect of this agreement.