HC Deb 06 November 1970 vol 805 cc1451-2

12.23 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Anthony Grant)

I beg to move: That the Anti-Dumping Duty (No. 2) Order, 1970 (S.I., 1970, No. 1148), dated 31st July, 1970, a copy of which was laid before this House on 7th August, be approved. This Order, which was made under the Customs Duties (Dumping & Subsidies) Act, 1969, imposes an anti-dumping duty of £275 per ton on imports of zirconium dioxide originating in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This product is mainly used in the manufacture of ceramic stains for wall tiles and coloured sanitary ware. I have to follow the example of my hon. Friend the Minister of State at the Home Office earlier this morning and tiptoe delicately with these chemical substances.

An application alleging dumping with consequential material injury was received from the British industry in March, 1970. Relatively large imports were apparently being dumped by a very substantial margin, and there was strong prima facie evidence of consequential material injury and some risk of forestalling. The Anti-Dumping (Provisional Charge to Duty) (No. 3) Order, 1970 imposed from 9th May, 1970 a provisional charge to duty of £275 per ton on Russian zirconium dioxide.

During the full investigation that was subsequently completed, we established that imports of zirconium dioxide from the U.S.S.R. were indeed dumped by a substantial margin, which was assessed by reference to the price of French zirconium dioxide of comparable quality exported to the United Kingdom. This method of calculating dumping is allowed by the Customs Duties (Dumping and Subsidies) Act, 1969, in the case of imports from state trading countries where reliable information about domestic prices cannot be obtained.

We are also satisfied that the dumping was such as to cause, and threaten further, material injury to the British industry and that the imposition of a definitive anti-dumping duty on the dumped imports with retroactive effect to the commencement of the provisional charge to duty would be in the national interest.

Our findings in relation to dumping and material injury were based on financial and other information given to us in strict confidence. However, I can assure the House that, in accordance with normal practice, the case was investigated most carefully—both in relation to the dumping and to the question of consequent material injury—and the findings were based on a thorough study of all the evidence.

The anti-dumping duty took effect from 9th May, 1970, and for the reasons I have given I hope that the House will approve this Order. As the hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Rees) said, it started under the previous Administration.

I should like also to say that, although it was not the first occasion on which I appeared at the Dispatch Box, the felicitations of the hon. Member, who resides so near my constituency, were none the less deeply appreciated.

Question put and agreed to.