HC Deb 01 December 1980 vol 995 c14
15. Mr. Gummer

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will take steps to ensure that origin marking is accurate, even if voluntary, and in particular that goods produced in East Germany are not passed off as being made in Germany.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

The requirements of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, which prohibits false or misleading origin markings, should be adequate to ensure that origin information is accurate. I propose to make an order as soon as possible under the Act to extend substantially the range of goods for which it is required.

Mr. Gummer

I thank my right hon. Friend for her considerable interest in origin marking. Will she use that powerful weapon in discussions with our European Community partners because a considerable amount of advertising, particularly in mail order, suggests that products made in East Germany are made in Germany? Does she accept that in common parlance "Germany" means our Common Market friend, West Germany? Will she ensure that when East German products are advertised it is made clear that they are made in East Germany which is under Soviet Union domination?

Mrs. Oppenheim

Under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 it is an offence to mark goods "Made in West Germany" if they are made in East Germany, or vice versa. The acceptability, in relation to the 1968 and 1972 Acts, of the marking "Made in Germany" or "German" on goods made either in the Federal Republic or the Democratic Republic is ultimately a matter for the courts to decide. The point is already covered by law and I do not see any need for new legislation beyond that which I have already announced.

Mr. Hooley

Is the right hon. Lady aware that origin marking on cutlery is often grossly inadequate and that some offenders are British firms? Will she speed up the order which she plans to introduce?

Mrs. Oppenheim

I have already told the hon. Gentleman that I intend to introduce an order as swiftly as possible. The hon. Gentleman shows a great deal of interest in the matter. If it were not for the restrictive attitude towards apprenticeships adopted by the unions in the cutlery industry the cutlery now being imported from Korea and Taiwan would still be being made in Britain.