20. Mr. R. C. Mitchell
asked the Secretary of State for Trade under what circumstances licences are given to Russian-made hydrofoils to operate in British waters; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Clinton Davis
I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the Russian-made hydrofoil which is operating on the Thames. This is a British-owned vessel, registered in the United Kingdom, and has complied with the necessary safety requirements for the issue of a passenger certificate under the Merchant Shipping Acts.
Is my hon. Friend aware, however, that this Russian hydrofoil was sold at approximately half the price of similar hydrofoils which are available in the Russian and Eastern European home market and was sold on credit terms that could not possibly be matched by people in this country? As it is in direct competition with British-made products—for example, the hovercraft—will my hon. 24 Friend look at the anti-dumping laws involved in this case?
§ Mr. Davis
My hon. Friend has, of course, written to me about this subject. I am aware of his concern about it. The fact of the matter, however, is that we have received no representations from the hovercraft industry alleging that there has been dumping as regards the Russian hydrofoil. We can act only if representations are made to us. We have to assess the evidence that is presented in order to determine whether there has been a breach of the Customs Duties (Dumping and Subsidies) Act 1969.