HC Deb 29 January 1979 vol 961 cc1026-7
25. Mr. George

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make representations to the EEC on behalf of the British industrial fastener industry on the adverse effects the Davignon steel crisis measures are having on that industry.

Mr. Meacher

We presented evidence from the industry to suggest that European competitors had unfair access to raw materials sold at prices in breach of the Davignon plan. The British industry is assembling more information for the Government to pass to the Commission in support of its claims that the Davignon plan is being disregarded.

Mr. George

Is the Under-Secretary aware of the very severe effect that the Davignon agreement is having on the fastener industry, the centre of which is at Darlaston, in my constituency? In the light of the crisis, will he be prepared to meet a delegation consisting of hon. Members, representatives of the British Industrial Fasteners Federation and representatives of the trade unions involved to discuss our representations?

Mr. Meacher

We are certainly hoping that the Commission will enforce the Davignon price rules, and certainly this means providing a more precise definition of the guidance prices for different sizes and specifications of wire rod. On the second question, I should certainly be prepared to meet a delegation once I have consulted my right hon. and hon. Friends of the Department of Industry, who are also closely involved.

Mr. Park

Does my hon. Friend agree that merely collecting information and passing it on to the Commission is hardly the positive role that we expect to see his Department undertaking? Will he take a more active part in making sure that justice is done to this industry?

Mr. Meacher

I assure my hon. Friend that we are taking all the action that we are able to take. The point is that it is the EEC Commission which is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the Davignon price rules. All that we are able to do consistent with our powers in respect of the Commission is to seek to persuade and influence the Commission to do that job thoroughly, and that is what we do.