HC Deb 07 July 1965 vol 715 cc1585-6
33. Mr. Norwood

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that imported United States carrots in packages retail at about 1s. 4d. per lb., and that the British carrot producer receives about 1d. per lb.; and why imparts of United States carrots into this country are permitted.

Mr. Hoy

The very small quantities of carrots imported from the United States command relatively high prices because they are generally of a type not available from home-grown sources at the time they arrive. I know of no grounds on which such imports should be prohibited.

Mr. Norwood

Does the Minister agree that the only distinction between United States carrots and those grown here is basically one of size? Would he further bear in mind that many producers of carrots in this country find great difficulty in disposing of their crop even at ruling prices? Would he, therefore, look at all imports of carrots with the greatest strictness?

Mr. Hoy

Yes, indeed. May I remind my hon. Friend and the House that these carrots imported from America sell at a much higher price than do our home-produced carrots. The total imports for 1964 from America were about 3,400 tons and from all sources they amounted to about 26,500 tons, whereas our own home production reached between 300,000 and half-a-million tons per annum.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

Is it not a fact that during the period when British carrots are coming on to the market there is considerable protection against imported carrots whether from America or anywhere else? Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that, unfortunately, one of the reasons why British carrots fail to compete is that they are not always as well packed as those which are imported from California?

Mr. Hoy

Packaging has a considerable amount to do with sales. It is true that there is an import duty of £1 per cwt. in May and June, and throughout the rest of the year there is a 10 per cent. ad valorem duty.