§ 21. Mr. J. H. Osborn
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will now make a statement on the issue of marking orders relating to country of origin under the Trade Descriptions Act, and the measures he is taking to ensure protection and information to the consumer as a result of any changes in marking procedures.
§ Sir J. Eden
I would refer my hon. Friend to the answers given to him on 24th May and to my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle (Mr. Normanton) on 16th June. The consumer will be protected against false or misleading indications of origin by the misdescription provisions of the Trade Descriptions Act.—[Vol. 818, c. 9; Vol. 819, c. 100.]
§ Mr. Osborn
There are a number of industries, including those based in Sheffield, making quality products which have relied on marking orders indicating the countries of origin and a number of industries have made applications to continue these marking orders. Will my hon. Friend consider these applications sympathetically? In those cases where he is not continuing the orders, what steps is he taking to ensure that the consumer has the protection of quality which hitherto he has taken for granted?
§ Sir J. Eden
The important point to consider is whether marking orders are likely to provide a reliable indication of the characteristics which would affect the suitability of the goods for the use the consumer has in mind. The question of the applications still under consideration is the subject of other Questions by my hon. Friend, and we shall give them very careful consideration. However, generally speaking, the consumer's best interests are protected in this matter by information given across the counter as to the countries from which the goods are obtained and as to the general assessment of quality.