§ 4.12 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Anthony Grant)
I beg to move,That the Anti-Dumping Duty (No. 4) Order 1971 (S.I., 1971, No. 1635), dated 7th October, 1971. a copy of which was laid before this House on 7th October, be approved.This Order, made under the Customs Duties (Dumping and Subsidies) Act, 1969, imposes anti-dumping duties ranging from 50p. to £3 a cubic metre on imports of certain wood chipboard from producers in Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Irish Republic from 8th July this 744 year, and from producers in Portugal from 20th August. The duties confirm provisional charges to anti-dumping duty imposed by the Anti-Dumping (Provisional Charge to Duty) (No. 3) Order, 1971, operative from 8th July, 1971, and a subsequent amending Order, operating from 20th August, 1971, which are revoked by the present Order.
These duties are, however, only retrospective and end on 7th October, 1971. After that date, the producers concerned in all countries have undertaken to raise their export prices to the minimum level which the Department considers necessary to eliminate material injury to the U.K. industry. The duties and the agreed price increases do not in any case exceed the margins of dumping found on representative sales to the United Kingdom. So long as these undertakings are observed, no duties will be imposed.
The anti-dumping action which we have taken follows a thorough investigation of all the facts by the Department of Trade and Industry in response to an anti-dumping application by the U.K. producers of chipboard. This has entailed visits by our officials to all the producers concerned and a detailed investigation of the position of the main British producers by our professional accountants. As a result, we were satisfied that dumping was occurring and that this had caused material injury to the British industry. We are also satisfied, after considering carefully the balance of interests, that it is in the national interest that anti-dumping action should be taken in this case.
I invite the House to approve this Order.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Roy Mason (Barnsley)
As the hon. Gentleman says, this is an Order imposing anti-dumping duties on five countries in respect of their exports of chipboard to Britain.
We do not object to the Order. However, since it is not specified in the Order, perhaps the hon. Gentleman could enlighten us, first, about whom it is designed to protect. In his short statement, he referred to the United Kingdom producers of chipboard. I think that he aught to advise us which firms are involved, where they are situated, and the extent to which they have suffered material injury. 745 It is all very well saying that he is satisfied that they have suffered material injury. The hon. Gentleman should demonstrate to the House that they have suffered material injury before an Order of this kind is approved.
Finally, perhaps he will say what employment might be jeopardised if the dumping of chipboard is continued.
I think that answers to those questions should be given before the Order is approved.
§ 4.16 p.m.
§ Mr. Anthony Grant
If I may deal briefly with the points raised by the right hon. Gentleman, the application was made by Airscrew Weyroc, which is the United Kingdom producer responsible for about 80 per cent. of the production of chipboard in this country. The application was supported by a few other much Smaller producers. Effectively, all the producers of chipboard in the country support the application.
On the right hon. Gentleman's second point, we are satisfied that material injury has been suffered. It may be of interest to the House to know that the firm to which I have referred and which is responsible for 80 per cent. of British production itself largely operates in a development area in Scotland. We are advised and satisfied that it has had to declare redundant 80 employees as a result of loss of business due to dumped imports, and that further dismissals will almost inevitably be necessary unless anti-dumping action is taken.
§ Mr. John E. B. Hill (Norfolk, South)
I understand that the firm is also operating in East Anglia, in a town expansion scheme at Thetford. It has been worried about dumping in the past. I welcome the action of my hon. Friend's Department.
§ Question put and agreed to.