HC Deb 11 July 1961 vol 644 cc195-6
22. Mr. P. Browne

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he now proposes to take to stop the import of butter to this country at prices below the cost of production in the countries of origin.

Mr. Maudling

Butter prices in the United Kingdom this year have caused concern to our traditional suppliers, and we have co-operated with them in international discussions designed to bring about some stability. We shall continue to keep in close touch with them.

Mr. Browne

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the difference between the home price and the export price per cwt. of Danish and New Zealand butter is a difference of approximately 100s. and 150s., respectively? Is not this clearly a case of dumping, and would he not agree that if he were to stop the dumping of dairy produce generally into this country we should not have to have the quota system for our own dairy farmers?

Mr. Maudling

We are trying through the means available to us to improve the position in the butter market, but I must point out that where an application for the anti-dumping duty is made on behalf of another country—not a British producer—I could not, in any case, act without the consent of G.A.T.T. So far, I have not had any application to impose anti-dumping duties.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that this is not a question of dumping from New Zealand? The people there are our relations, and we want to trade with them as sensibly as we can. Will he deal with the question of these other countries which are dumping, and so strengthen the ties with New Zealand?

Mr. Maudling

My hon. Friend is aware that I attach great importance to our trade ties with New Zealand or any other part of the Commonwealth, but we must realise that under our international obligations and under our own legislation we cannot act in response to an anti-dumping application without the consent of G.A.T.T. I think that the procedure which we adopt is in the best interests both of New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

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