HC Deb 03 December 1946 vol 431 cc40-1W
84. Colonel Ponsonby

asked the President of the Board of Trade what encouragement is being given to Empire producers of tobacco to increase their production and export to the United Kingdom; and whether any guarantee has been offered them that their total production will be imported into this country for a specified number of years.

Mr. Marquand

The export of tobacco to the United Kingdom from other parts of the Empire is encouraged by the margin of preference which it receives. The present heavy demand from the United Kingdom and other importing countries absorbs the whole exportable output at prices which are highly remunerative to growers and give them further encouragement to increase their production. No guarantee of the kind suggested has been offered by His Majesty's Government to the growers; tobacco imports into the United Kingdom are in general on private account.

85. Colonel Ponsonby

asked the President of the Board of Trade the margin of preference on an ad valorem basis on Empire tobacco entering this country in 1920 and following the agreement with the U.S.A. in 1938, respectively.

Mr. Marquand

The average value of imports of stripped tobacco from Empire sources was 2s. 1¼d. per lb. in 1920, and 2s. 3d. per 1b. in 1944, the first full year after the reduction in the preferential margin, consequent on the United Kingdom/United States Trade Agreement of 1938, became effective. For stripped tobacco, with a moisture content of 10 per cent or more, the preferential margin was 1s. 45/12d. per lb. in 1920 and 1s. 6⅜d. in 1944, the margin being higher if the moisture content is lower. The moisture content of the imports is not known, but, on the basis of the figures given above, the preferential margin expressed as a proportion of the average value of imports in the year was 65 per cent. in 1920 and 69 per cent. in 1944.