HC Deb 19 February 1957 vol 565 cc194-5
26. Mr. Usborne

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the present tariff which protects the knitting needle and fishing tackle industry in Britain from competition from the Common Market countries.

Mr. Walker-Smith

The present import duty on hand knitting needles is 17½ per cent. ad valorem. There is no single rate of duty for fishing tackle, the principal duties on which are 15 per cent. for reels and steel rods, 20 per cent. for iron or steel hooks, and 25 per cent. for most other types of fishing tackle used by anglers.

Mr. Usborne

If this Free Trade Area is created, is it not fairly obvious that the knitting needle industry of the Midlands will face very severe competition from German firms, and is the Minister doing anything about trying to direct some alternative industry into the areas which will be hardest hit as a result of the Free Trade Area?

Mr. Walker-Smith

The hon. Gentleman must appreciate that all this is a long-term proposition. One thing that British industry cannot in any event do is to contract out of the necessity of competition which nature imposes upon it.