HC Deb 15 April 1965 vol 710 cc1645-6
17. Mr. Freeson

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will take steps to restrain the import of transistor radio sets into the United Kingdom.

Mr. Redhead

No, Sir.

Mr. Freeson

Is the Minister aware that, according to certain trade sources, last year something like 1,700,000 transistor sets were imported to the approximate value of £3¾ million? Does he not consider that these are serious figures having regard to the export-import balance of this country? Will he keep an eye on the matter to see whether action should be taken?

Mr. Redhead

The import of these articles has been increasing, but the House should keep in mind that Hong Kong is our major overseas supplier in this connection and it is recognised that our basic policy is not to restrict imports from Commonwealth countries. It will be recognised that Hong Kong is in a very special position in relation to this country and, on the other hand, maintains a free market for our imports. In those circumstances, we do not think that this calls for the special action suggested.

Mr. Lipton

For the sake of peace and quietness, would it not be a good idea to restrain the manufacture of transistor sets wherever they come from?

Mr. Redhead

Although that is a question with which I have some sympathy, it does not strictly arise from the Question on the Order Paper.

Mr. Biffen

Will the Minister confirm that these transistor radios are sub- ject to import surcharge? Can he say if he has an indication that the import surcharge has had some effect upon reduction of their importation?

Mr. Redhead

Certainly they bear the import surcharge in common with other radio sets. As to the effect of the surcharge on this particular category, I should not like to venture.