HC Deb 20 March 1956 vol 550 cc990-1
32. Captain Orr

asked the President of the Board of Trade what tariff or restrictions are imposed by the United Kingdom on the import of timber from Eire; and what is the tariff at present imposed by the Eireann Government on United Kingdom exports of timber.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. A. R. W. Low)

There are no duties or restrictions on timber imported into the United Kingdom from the Irish Republic. All Irish Republic duties on timber are at present in suspense, except those on certain wooden manufactures and veneers, where the rates applying to United Kingdom goods are, respectively, 33⅓ per cent. and 50 per cent.

34. Captain Orr

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the imposition by Eire of a wide range of duties on imported goods; and whether he will make a statement about the likely effects of this action on United Kindgom trade.

Mr. Low

Yes, Sir. I am aware that the Irish Republic have recently imposed a special levy on certain classes of imported goods. There is a preferential rate for most imports from the United Kingdom, but, even so, our exports are likely to suffer some reduction. The Government of the Irish Republic have, however, emphasised that this measure is designed solely to redress the balance of payments and will be retained only for so long as the balance of payments situation requires it.

Captain Orr

To what extent did the Government engage in consultations before the imposition of these duties? In my hon. Friend's view, does the imposition of these duties constitute a breach of the Anglo-Eire trade agreement or of the Ottawa Agreement?

Mr. Low

There was no occasion for consultation, since I understand the action taken pays due regard to Eire's trade agreement commitments to us.