HC Deb 14 December 1983 vol 50 c983
7. Mr. Phillip Oppenheim

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he intends to make any additions to the list of goods which must bear a country of origin marking when displayed by a retailer.

Mr. Trippier

I have no plans to extend the origin marking order to new products, pending a ruling from the European Court of Justice on the compatibility of the order as it stands with Community law.

Mr. Oppenheim

I appreciate the Government's efforts to defend our origin marking regulations against the European Community, but does my hon. Friend agree that even these regulations are inadequate and exclude many household items such as crockery and almost all items of electronic business equipment, including telecommunications equipment and computers? Should not provision be made for the inclusion of these items in the regulations? Should not additional action be taken over goods assembled in this country from predominantly imported components, which are often misleadingly labelled "Made in Britain"?

Mr. Trippier

I am grateful for my hon. Friend's early remarks. We believe that the origin marking order is compatible with our Community obligations and we shall put forward a vigorous defence in Europe. We shall have to study in some detail the case that my hon. Friend put on the other goods and products.

Mr. Ashdown

In a previous answer the Secretary of State said that he wished to see the share of the British home market increase. Is the Minister aware that the latest figures show that the average British family spends £100 a week on consumer items and that the foreign share of that has risen under his Government to £25 a week and continues to rise? It has been calculated that if the average British family were to spend £3 a week more on British manufactured goods that would create 350,000 jobs and improve the balance of payments by £900 million. In the light of those figures, will the hon. Gentleman take this opportunity specifically to endorse the "Think British" campaign?

Mr. Trippier

I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman did not take the time to congratulate the Government on introducing origin marking in the first place, and also that as he is the spokesman for the Liberal party he did not support the vigorous defence that we are putting up in Europe. It is because of our introduction of the origin marking order that we are encouraging people to buy British, and we shall continue to do so.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I ask hon. Members for much shorter supplementary questions.