HC Deb 03 November 1955 vol 545 cc1190-1
18. Mr. G. Williams

asked the President of the Board of Trade why he has found it necessary to issue licences to import pears and grapes from the United States of America.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

This fruit is being imported without dollar cost under Mutual Aid arrangements. The quantities involved are about one-fifth and two-fifths respectively of what was normally imported from the United States of America before the war.

Mr. Williams

Will the President of the Board of Trade remember that we produce a lot of pears at home, and that these imported pears are competing with them; and will he tell us whether he anticipates any more heavy imports?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I cannot forecast what the future pattern of trade will be, but these imports are, of course, very much reduced, compared with the prewar imports from the United States.

Mr. Lewis

Would it not be better for the working of the House if we abolished pairs altogether?

Major Legge-Bourke

It is not only the quantity that matters. As with apple imports, also with pears an important consideration is the timing. Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that the imports before Christmas will not cause a slump in the home growers' market?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I think that about 40 per cent. of the pears may be imported before 1st January.