HC Deb 22 June 1959 vol 607 cc963-5

8.55 p.m.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. J. K. Vaughan-Morgan)

I beg to move, That the Anti-Dumping (No. 1) Order, 1959, a copy of which was laid before this House on 27th May, be approved. I shall not detain the House more than a few minutes. The effect of the Order is to levy an anti-dumping duty of 12s. per cwt. on pearled barley originating in the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Order was laid before the House on 27th May and arises from an application received by the Board of Trade for the imposition of a duty on pearled barley imported from both the Netherlands and the Federal Republic. By December, after six months, sufficient evidence had been produced to justify our investigating further. We made a public announcement and invited representations. After consideration of all the evidence, we came to the conclusion that substantial dumping was taking place from both the Netherlands and West Germany.

The Dutch industry admitted the existence of dumping, but said that it had been compelled to resort to it to keep a share of the United Kingdom market. The Dutch industry has agreed to eliminate the dumping rather than have an anti-dumping duty imposed on its exports. In the case of Western Germany, the arrangements for marketing at home enabled the millers to quote special low prices for exported pearled barley.

The House will not, I think, want to know the exact details of how this is worked out, but we calculate that the real margin of unfair competition involved in the exports to the United Kingdom from Western Germany was about 12s. per cwt. This was undoubtedly causing material injury to United Kingdom millers and in the circumstances we found that a duty should be imposed at the rate of 12s. per cwt.

This is only the second time that an anti-dumping duty has been imposed. The first related to silicone fluids imported from France. As my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade said in the debate on that occasion, nobody likes imposing a duty aimed at a particular importer or importers, but when the case is made out we must be prepared to act if our own producers are not to be subject to unfair competition.

I hope that the House will agree that this Order is right and fair.

8.57 p.m.

Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)

This is one of those rare occasions on which I can not only congratulate the Minister on his concise and lucid statement, but thoroughly agree with everything he has said. We in the Labour Party—this is not a matter of controversy—agree that we cannot be indifferent to the way in which we obtain our supplies and that we are entitled to protect our producers against unfair competition from dumping.

We recognise that in taking any such action the Government are in a dilemma, because we want the action to be taken as speedily as possible and, at the same time, we must be satisfied that there has been a thorough investigation of the case. In the case of the present Order, I am satisfied both that the matter has been thoroughly investigated and that the Government have acted as expeditiously as they could.

I was glad that the Minister referred to the Netherlands. We would much prefer to avoid an anti-dumping order whenever we can, but in this case it is clear that the Government have no alternative but to impose the duty under the Order. We support the action that they feel obliged to take. We hope that soon, as a consequence of the Order, we will be able to be in the same position with regard to West Germany as obtains in the case of the Netherlands and that we will have a removal by agreement of this threat to our own producers.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved, That the Anti-Dumping (No. 1) Order, 1959, a copy of which was laid before this House on 27th May, be approved.

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