HC Deb 14 February 1956 vol 548 cc2149-50
16. Air Commodore Harvey

asked the President of the Board of Trade what reply he has given to the application by Italy for a reduction of 10 per cent. in the import tariff on artificial silk tissues.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I cannot disclose details about concessions sought or offered in tariff negotiations, nor anticipate the outcome of the discussions now going on at Geneva. Requests for reductions in the United Kingdom tariff have been discussed with the trade associations concerned, and their views will be fully taken into account.

Air Commodore Harvey

Does my right hon. Friend realise that if he gives way on this, not only will the industry suffer, but other countries will queue up for the same concession? The silk and rayon industry is going through a difficult time. Will he do what he can to protect it in this instance?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I am anxious not to discuss the pros and cons of tariff concessions of any particular industry in the course of these negotiations, or we shall have to discuss the lot. I assure my hon. and gallant Friend that I shall bear in mind the representations made to me on this, as I have on other industries.

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