HC Deb 17 December 1979 vol 976 cc7-8
7. Mr. Hal Miller

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what representations he has received about the prices at which Japanese and East European passenger and commercial vehicles are landed in the United Kingdom.

The Minister for Trade (Mr. Cecil Parkinson)

I have received no representations about prices of Japanese vehicles. Nor have I yet been given any firm evidence that vehicles from Eastern Europe are being sold here at below the cost of production and distribution; but discussions are continuing at official level between my Department and representatives of the motor industry.

Mr. Miller

The representations are on the way to my hon. Friend. Can he give an assurance that they will be considered seriously, and that action will be expeditious if the case is substantiated?

Mr. Parkinson

The Department has an anti-dumping unit that is available to help industries which believe that they have a case and wish to have help in making it. We shall act on any information that my hon. Friend cares to make available.

Mr. Alan Clark

Has my hon. Friend's Department made any study of the practicality or possible consequences of a tariff policy, or do his civil servants think that the subject is so heretical that they may jeopardise their career prospects by getting anywhere near it?

Mr. Parkinson

I remind my hon. Friend that we have today signed the MTNs that have been renegotiated in the Tokyo round. The Government, along with the Governments of all developed countries, have committed themselves to a policy of reducing tariff barriers and getting rid of non-tariff barriers. We believe that that is the way forward.

Mr. Leighton

As restrictions have been imposed on Japanese car imports, is it not illogical not to do the same on EEC car imports? It is from these countries that the majority of imports come.

Mr. Parkinson

It would be against our Treaty obligations to impose the restrictions suggested by the hon. Gentleman.