HC Deb 19 July 1960 vol 627 cc236-7
30. Mr. Wade

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a further statement on his negotiations for the removal of the United States wool tariff quota.

Mr. Maudling

I have at present nothing to add to my reply to the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) on 30th June.

Mr. Wade

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is not much good urging the exporters to export more goods if they are already only too willing to do so but are prevented by prohibitive tariffs? While I agree about the removal of the wool tariff quota, is he aware of the report in the American Press that this is to be replaced by a 38 per cent. ad valorem duty plus weight duty, and will he agree that this would mean infringing the terms of G.A.T.T.? Are the Government, as a member of G.A.T.T., free to object to it?

Mr. Maudling

The hon. Member's first proposition is, I think, quite unexceptionable. On the second point, I have seen rumours in the Press. They are quite unauthorised. I do not think I can make any comment till there is an official statement.

Mr. Hirst

They may be unauthorised in the official sense, but the trade has good reason to believe this is the very type of settlement which the United States wish to impose on the British Government. Will my right hon. Friend look at the matter again, if he cannot say anything more at this juncture, to make quite sure that this type of imposition does not in fact take place?

Mr. Maudling

The United States Government are quite well aware of our views in this matter. There are other parties concerned, the Italians and the Japanese, for instance. However, it is not possible to comment till there is an official announcement.

Mr. Rhodes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these tariff quotas are heavily weighted by the United States in favour of the Japanese on political and strategic grounds? Is it not time that representations were made on a much stronger basis to see to it that there is not the unfair opposition experienced by British manufacturers in the United States?

Mr. Maudling

I agree that the tariff quota system has worked against us, but I do not think that that was the deliberate intention and we are very much hoping it will be done away with.

Forward to