HC Deb 10 December 1941 vol 376 cc1550-1W
Mr. David Adams

asked the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether, in connection with the export tax on tin-ore from British Malaya, there are other similar instances within the British Empire of discrimination against raw material buyers of non-British nationality; and whether, in view of the principles of the Atlantic Charter, he will consider the cancellation of the Malayan tax in question?

Mr. George Hall

The export duty on tin-ore in various Malay States is an essential element in the revenue of those States. I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the additional export duty on tin-ore exported to foreign destinations. This additional duty was imposed many years ago in order to protect the British and Malayan smelting industries against a threat of subsidised competition from abroad. The differential duty applies only to tin-ore, not to smelted tin, which is the raw material required by industry in general. There are no other similar additional export duties in the British Colonial Empire; but there are a number of export duties, not differential in character, imposed for revenue purposes in various Colonial territories.

As the export of tin-ore from Malaya would involve uneconomic use of shipping space and packing materials, it would impede our war effort, and my Noble Friend is not prepared to invite the Governments of the States concerned to make any change at the present time. The principles of the Atlantic Charter are fully met by the fact that there is no discrimination between British and foreign pur- chasers of Malayan smelted tin, except of course that necessitated by the state of war now existing.