HC Deb 29 March 1960 vol 620 cc116-7W
Sir E. Errington

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) why marble travertine and ecaussine building stone is subject to a Customs duty at 1½ per cent., while marble chippings are allowed in free of duty and travertine and ecaussine and other calcareous stone chippings are subject to a Customs duty of 10 per cent;

(2)what is the distinction between marble chippings and other stone chippings such as travertine and ecaussine; and why marble chippings are admitted to this country free of duty while other calcareous chippings are subject to duty at 10 per cent. Under Item 25.17 of the Customs tariff dated 1st January, 1959;

why he has instructed his officers to draw a distinction for tariff purposes between marble chippings and chippings of other calcareous stone; whether he is aware that this new policy causes confusion; and whether he will take steps to abolish this distinction and restore to the free list all those chippings which are known to the trade as marble chippings.

Mr. Maudling

Under the Import Duties Act, 1932, imports of foreign marble, travertine and ecaussine stone and chippings were charged with the basic 10 per cent. general ad valorem duty. From November, 1956, as a result of tariff commitments under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, unworked marble became dutiable at 7½ per cent. ad valorem and marble chippings were made free of duty.

The Brussels Nomenclature distinguishes between marble, travertine and ecaussine, and this distinction was therefore adopted in the tariff which was introduced with effect from 1st January, 1959. At that time the Board of Trade received representations, which were accepted, in favour of extending the rate of 7½ per cent. ad valorem to travertine and ecaussine stones but no request was received in respect of travertine and ecaussine chippings. Importers of travertine and ecaussine chippings have now asked for a change in the duty and this is being considered.