HC Deb 08 November 1954 vol 532 cc108-9W
Mr. Alport

asked the President of the Board of Trade the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the extension of the principle of tariff protection, which at present applies to British horticulture, to the British seed-growing industry.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Seeds are already liable to the generalad valorem duty of 10 per cent. under the Import Duties Act, 1932. An application for alteration of the duty has been received. Seeds are, however, the subject of one of our tariff commitments under which the existing duties are bound against increase. These commitments were entered into in exchange for valuable tariff concessions accorded to the United Kingdom by other countries and we could not free our hands to increase the duty on one of the bound products without conceding compensation at the expense of United Kingdom producers of other goods. The question whether we could expect that on balance that price would be worth paying would need careful consideration if a case were to be made out for increased protection on seeds.