HC Deb 07 December 1950 vol 482 cc69-70W
Mrs. White

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about the agreement on the importation of educational, scientific and cultural materials which was approved at the Fifth Session of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Mr. H. Wilson

The report of the United Kingdom Delegation to the Fifth Session of U.N.E.S.C.O., in which mention of the agreement is made, has already been made available to the House. This is contained in Cmd. No. 8066.

The aim of the agreement, which was signed on behalf of the United Kingdom at Lake Success on 22nd November, is the removal of restrictions on the international exchange of the materials necessary for advance in the educational, scientific and cultural fields.

The agreement provides for the exemption from Customs duty of imports of books, newspapers, periodicals, catalogues of books and cultural films, music, maps, charts, works of art, a very limited class of films and other materials imported for cultural purposes, scientific intruments of a type not produced in the importing country and articles for the use of the blind. It further provides that countries shall as far as possible grant import licences and foreign exchange for these goods and shall in any event do so in respect of books and publications consigned to public libraries, United Nations and U.N.E.S.C.O. publications, travel literature for free distribution, and publications and other articles imported by approved organisations for the welfare of the blind.

The application of the agreement will not necessitate any substantial modification of our existing legislation since the provisions of the agreement are broadly in line with present practice in the United Kingdom.

I am arranging for the publication of the text of the agreement as a White Paper.