HC Deb 17 May 1962 vol 659 cc1513-5
11. Mr. Leather

asked the President of the Board of Trade what tariffs are levied against British-made small electric motors by Australia, Canada and the European Economic Community.

Sir K. Joseph

The Australian tariff on imports of British-made electric motors with a power of under 1 h.p. is 22½ per cent.; the Canadian is 15 per cent. The common external tariff of the E.E.C. on imports of British-made electric motors weighing 10 k.g. or less is at present 14 per cent., while the tariffs currently in force in the member countries of the E.E.C. are: France—15 per cent.; Germany—9 per cent.; Italy—14 per cent.; and Benelux—12 per cent.

Mr. Leather

I am obliged to my hon. Friend for that Answer. Accepting that the volume of our exports of products varies from country to country almost every year, may I ask whether he will agree that this pattern of figures is standard over a very wide range of products and shows that the Common Market tariff is already lower on many of these things than that of most Commonwealth countries? Can my hon. Friend hold out any hope that in all the negotiations which are going on at present any of the Commonwealth countries are prepared to consider lowering their tariffs against British exports?

Sir K. Joseph

That is a different question. I must in fairness say that we do have some preferences in some of these Commonwealth markets, and I am glad to say that our export trade is expanding healthily to all these countries, though unevenly in some. But I confirm that the common external tariff and the tariffs of Western Europe are barriers which we are surmounting in many fields.

Mr. Walker

Is my hon. Friend aware that the section of the Trade and Navigation Accounts dealing with electric motors shows that last year our exports to Canada were 15 per cent. greater than all our exports to the Common Market, that our exports to Australia were 75 per cent. greater, and that our exports to the Commonwealth were ten times as great as our exports to the Common Market? Does not my hon. Friend think that, when sniping questions are asked about Commonwealth trade, he should answer accordingly?

Sir K. Joseph

There is no question of sniping answers or questions. In the specific sector to which my hon. Friend the Member for Somerset, North (Mr. Leather) referred in his Question, our trade with the E.E.C. is four and a half times our trade to Canada—as would be expected because of the population—and two and a half times that to Australia.