HC Deb 23 March 1961 vol 637 cc564-5
27. Mr. Leather

asked the President of the Board of Trade why his Department has extended the suspension of Imperial Preference on butyl imported from Canada, which can once again supply all the requirements of British industry.

Mr. Maudling

Butyl rubber was temporarily exempted from import duty from 1st October, 1960, and, as a result, the Commonwealth margin of preference was suspended. The exemption comes to an end on 1st April, 1961, and will not be extended.

Mr. Leather

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that very satisfactory answer, may I ask him if he is aware that this industry in Canada was built up primarily during the war for the sole purpose of serving this country, but that powerful foreign interests have been trying very hard to undermine its position in the British market, which if they were allowed to succeed would be a complete negation of the spirit of the Ottowa Agreements? Can he assure the House that he will keep a weather eye on the position in the future?

Mr. Maudling

Certainly, Sir. We suspended the Commonwealth margin of preference and exempted this product from duty because for a certain period the Canadian output was insufficient to meet United Kingdom demand. As soon as we found that there was enough coming from Canada we restored the position.