HC Deb 10 December 1962 vol 669 c4
2. Mr. Longden

asked the Minister of Power whether it is Government policy to allow the export of steel offcuts; and what criteria are applied by Her Majesty's Customs for differentiating an offcut from scrap.

Mr. Wood

Some steel offcuts are, apparently, suitable for further fabrication without remelting. In this case the Government's policy is normally to allow their export. Offcuts may also be material which appears fit only for remelting, in which case they are regarded as scrap. With a few special exceptions, the Government at present allows scrap to be freely exported if its value is £25 a ton or less. Scrap of higher value is still relatively scarce in this country and exports are forbidden. Whether a particular quantity of material described as offcuts is scrap is a matter of commercial usage in this country on which Her Majesty's Customs may and does seek independent expert advice.

Mr. Longden

Does my right hon. Friend realise that a great deal of time and money is wasted by potential exporters in arguing with Her Majesty's Customs? Has not the time come when there should be a cast-iron definition of a steel offcut?

Mr. Wood

I appreciate my hon. Friend's wit, but I think that this is, in fact, a common-sense distinction which has been consistently adhered to, that the only things which are not exportable are the valuable scraps above the value of £25 a ton.