HC Deb 27 March 1956 vol 550 cc1951-2
18. Mr. Baldwin

asked the President of the Board of Trade the volume and value of imports of pears from Australia for 1953, 1954 and 1955, and the corresponding figures for 1938.

Mr. Low

As the answer contains a number of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

Year Cwt. £
1938 205,134 280,668
1953 306,548 1,541,334
1954 406,772 1,920,676
1955 471,145 2,044,184

19. Mr. Baldwin

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that imports of apples from Australia during the past three years have been at a level of only two-thirds of the imports in 1938; and what steps he proposes to take to encourage importers to buy more apples from Australia and less from foreign countries.

Mr. Low

Imports of foreign apples are closely restricted by quota for balance of payments reasons, whereas those from the sterling area are free of quota restriction as well as free of duty. Foreign apples have represented such a small proportion of our imports during the main Australian marketing season that they can have had little, if any, effect on the level of our imports from Australia.

Mr. Nabarro

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is not the volume of the imports of dollar apples which causes so much concern to many horticulturists as the fact that they are always imported at a time to coincide with the marketing of the English crop, thereby causing the maximum possible embarrassment to growers in Worcestershire and elsewhere?

Mr. Low

The Question asks about Australian apples, and the marketing season is quite different.

Commander Agnew

Before importation plans for next season's apples are made, will my right hon. Friend's Department make arrangements to see that the growers in the home industry are consulted?

Mr. Low

That is another question. This Question is about Australia and the Australian marketing season.

Mr. Jay

Are not the suggestions of the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) quite contrary to the doctrine of Conservative freedom?