HC Deb 30 November 1953 vol 521 cc111-2W
Mr. Deedes

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is now in a position to make a statement about the horticultural tariff.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Yes. An Order has been laid today and will come into operation tomorrow giving effect to the decisions of Her Majesty's Government in respect of the import duties on certain fresh and preserved fruit and vegetables.

I have also laid today a White Paper which sets out the general background to the case submitted by the National Farmers' Unions for increased tariffs on horticultural produce and which shows in detail the decisions taken by Her Majesty's Government. These decisions have been taken after full consideration of the evidence submitted by producers, importers, distributors and other interested organisations, and after taking fully into account the interests of consumers.

In accordance with the procedures established under the waiver recently agreed by the contracting parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Her Majesty's Government duly notified, where this was necessary, their intention to increase these tariffs. Upon the expiry of the 30 days required under these procedures, consultations had been requested in respect of only two items—dried peas, where consultations were requested by the Netherlands Government and by the United States Government, and plums, by the United States Government. Agreement was reached with the Netherlands Government, before the expiry of the 30 days, that in the circumstances at present foreseen the waiver should apply. I am also glad to say that the United States Government have withdrawn their request for consultation on dried peas. A supplementary Order covering this item will therefore be laid as soon as possible. Discussions are still taking place with the United States Government about their request for consultation in respect of plums.

Quantitative restrictions, including seasonal restrictions, will be removed tomorrow on imports of the range of goods covered by the decisions recorded in the White Paper, when imported from Western Europe and certain other foreign countries. A Notice to Importers which is being issued this afternoon contains full details of these relaxations.

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