HC Deb 26 April 1976 vol 910 cc23-5
28. Mr. George

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many washing machines have been imported into the United Kingdom from Italy; and if he will investigate charges of dumping.

23. Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what progress has been made by his Department in considering the allegations of dumping of Italian manufactured washing machines in the United Kingdom home market.

Mr. Meacher

Some 365,000 domestic washing machines were imported into the United Kingdom from Italy during the 12 months ending February 1976.

Up to now my Department has received no application from the industry for antidumping action. Any case involving Italy would be a matter for the EEC Commission, but my Department will be ready to give the industry any help and advice it can.

Mr. Georg

The Minister will I believe be aware that constituencies such as mine, Peterborough and Merthyr are considerably affected by the enormous number of washing machines produced by Indesit and Zanussi and sent to this country. I hope that the Government will consider taking very strong action, otherwise a viable industry will be decimated.

Mr. Meacher

As I have indicated, we should be willing and ready to give assistance in respect of any anti-dumping application, but I point out to my hon. Friend that the situation to which he refers concerns a reciprocal agreement between a British firm and Zanussi whereby the Italian firm buys refrigerators and other domestic appliances in return for the washing machines it supplies. The number of redundancies which are supposed to be associated with these imports certainly cannot be properly attributed to them alone. One must look for causes other than imports which, to a large measure, have not taken place.

Mr. Marten

In talking about antidumping measures, the hon. Gentleman, in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Faversham (Mr. Moate), referred to the Commission. Can he say whether after July 1977 the Commission or the Council of Ministers will operate the anti-dumping measures?

Mr. Meacher

That will remain with the Commission.

Mr. Atkinson

How does my hon. Friend justify the fact that the General Electric Company imports this equipment rather than manufacturing it itself?

Mr. Meacher

GEC is entitled to import, but my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry and ourselves are anxious to assist in any way we can to ensure that GEC manufactures the goods itself.