HC Deb 02 July 1957 vol 572 cc101-2W
Mr. Kirk

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he expects to be able to make further progress in the liberalisation of imports.

Sir D. Eccles

The Government have decided to remove the import controls on a large number of commodities used in industry. This will mainly affect imports from Canada, the United States and other countries in the dollar area. A detailed announcement is being made, copies of which are being placed in the Library today, listing the commodities involved, but the broad effect will be that, except in the case of leather for which the dollar quota will be substantially increased, the remaining import controls on the basic raw materials of industry and on metal semimanufactures will be removed on 1st August.

The controls will also be removed from certain agricultural products mainly used in manufacture and from certain chemicals. In most of these cases the main benefit to importers will be that they will be relieved of paper work but in others they will gain from increased competition among suppliers and easier access to the sources of supply which suit them best. Some switching to dollar supplies is likely but it should not be large, and the net cost of additional imports is not expected to exceed £3 million.

These steps will bring some modest direct and indirect benefits to the economy but the Government wish to emphasise that there has been no change in the need to economise on external expenditure.