HC Deb 20 December 1967 vol 756 cc428-9W
Mr. Carter-Jones

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he will describe the methods used for investigating whether or not dumping has taken or is taking place; what action is taken against firms or countries proved to be responsible for dumping; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if, in view of the widespread concern on this matter, he will take steps to provide more effective penalties for those responsible for the dumping of goods in this country; and if he will make a statement;

(3) by what date it is Her Majesty's Government's policy to seek to have enacted the anti-dumping legislation; if he will publish in advance an outline of the main provisions of the Bill; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Crosland:

When an application is made under the Customs Duties (Dumping and Subsidies) Act, 1957, the applicants are asked to provide prima facie evidence that dumping is taking place and the Board's officials then investigate in detail the prices of the suppliers' shipments to this market, their domestic prices and other relevant factors in order to establish whether dumping is occurring within the meaning of the Act and the margin of dumping. If necessary, they visit the suppliers overseas so as to examine their records on the spot. I have sent my hon. Friend a copy of the notes which the Board issue to applicants and which give further particulars.

The Act does not make dumping an offence or provide for penalties but in accordance with Article VI of the G.A.T.T. it enables the Board to impose anti-dumping duties when they are satisfied that the dumping is causing or threatening material injury to a British industry and that it is in the national interest to do so. Duties may be imposed by Order on imports from the firms concerned up to the margin of dumping that has been found to exist. The Board may, instead of imposing an anti-dumping duty, accept satisfactory undertakings by the overseas suppliers that dumping will stop. I am satisfied that these procedures provide effective remedies.

The main provision of the Bill to amend the Act of 1957 will give the Board powers to take provisional antidumping action in appropriate cases where a preliminary examination shows sufficient evidence of dumping and of material injury, even though the necessary full investigation has not been completed. Another provision will give the Board additional powers to determine comparable domestic prices for the purpose of dumping investigations in the case of goods from countries with a state-trading economy. It is proposed to introduce the Bill as soon as possible in the present Session.

These powers and procedures are fully in accord with Article VI of the G.A.T.T. and with the Anti-Dumping Code agreed in the Kennedy Round, which provide valuable safeguards for our own exporters against unjustified anti-dumping action by other countries.