§ Mr. Anderson
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a statement on the report of the Monopolies Commission on the supply and processing of colour films.
§ Mr. Jay
The Report was published this morning. The Commission have found monopoly conditions, as defined in the legislation, in the supply of colour film, and in the processing of certain types of film.
On supply, the Commission concluded that Kodak's monopoly position was not, as such, against the public interest, but they criticised Kodak's pricing policy, in relation both to selling prices and to retail margins. They concluded that Kodak's profits on its colour film business were too high, and that there was scope for prices to be reduced. They also criticised Kodak's policy of confining the retail distribution of colour film to certain appointed outlets.
On processing, the Commission criticised the standard practice of a number of firms of requiring certain films to be sold at prices which included a charge for processing.
By way of remedies, the Commission recommended that the import duty on colour film should be abolished; that significant cuts should be made in Kodak's prices; that retailers' discounts should be reduced; and that Kodak should make their film available without discrimination. The Commission also recommended modifications to the system of selling film process-paid.
The Commission have conducted a thorough and useful investigation. I accept their general conclusions, and the principle of their recommendations on Kodak's prices and distribution policies, and on the process-paid system.
The Commission's recommendation on the import duty carries great weight as an expression of the consumer interest, but does not in itself cover all the considerations to which the Board of Trade 46W must, under the Import Duties Act 1958, have regard. Before coming to a final conclusion on this recommendation, therefore, I am putting in hand an immediate review of the duty on colour film, which will permit interested parties to make representations. I hope that this review will be completed within a period of three months.
My Department will now discuss the implementation of the other recommendations with Kodak and the other parties concerned.