HC Deb 19 February 1957 vol 565 cc195-6
27. Mr. Usborne

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the 12 heaviest in incidence of the British protective tariffs which will need to be progressively reduced following the creation of the European Free Trade Area: and if he will also list the 12 most substantial tariff barriers to our exports to this Area which will similarly have to go.

Mr. Walker-Smith

As the Answer is necessarily long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Usborne

While not denying the need to face and overcome competition, may I ask the Minister whether it is not also perfectly clear that, in the next decade or so, some industries are going to have to contract in order that other industries may successfully expand? Will he say what steps he proposes to take to take care of the dislocation which his action is going to create? Is he planning that carefully, and will he encourage industries which will be expanding to take the place of industries which are contracting, in order to be able to use up the labour of those industries which will become redundant?

Mr. Walker-Smith

All these are very interesting questions but they do not arise from the Question on the Order Paper, which is purely for information regarding the incidence of certain protective tariffs.

Following is the Answer:

The following goods bear ad valorem duties of more than 33⅓ per cent. on importation into the United Kingdom:

Per cent.
Optical glass and optical elements 50
Optical instruments, including most cameras 50
Articles (other than yarns, tissues and apparel) containing more than 20 per cent of silk or artificial silk 43⅓ or 42
Optical lanterns for still projection 42½
Cinematograph cameras (9.5 mm. or less) 40
Box cameras 40
Bearded needles 40

I am unable to list in order of weight of incidence the protective duties on imports into the United Kingdom which are wholly or partly specific in character, as the ad valorem incidence of such duties can vary widely from one importation to the next. The following are among the items liable to specific or composite rates of duty of which the incidence is sometimes high:

As regards tariffs affecting our exports, it is not necessarily the highest duties which prevent the most trade, and it would not be practicable to isolate 12 particular tariffs as the most substantial barriers to our trade. I understand that there are duties in the range of 35 to 40 per cent. in countries which are prospective members of a free trade area on, among other goods, road vehicles and parts, vacuum cleaners and other electrical appliances, tractors, toys, domestic porcelain and some furniture. There are duties above this level on some carpets (80 per cent.) and on certain chemicals (several at 50 per cent. and some ranging up to 100 per cent.).