HC Deb 31 March 1971 vol 814 cc399-400W
Miss Quennell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing that proportion of their gross national product earned by exports of each of the member countries of the European Economic Community for the past 10 years, to the nearest convenient date, compared with the United Kingdom over the same period.

Mr. Higgins

The information requested is given in the table below; it is based on returns made to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Exports of goods and services as a percentage of gross national product at factor cost
Average, 1960–69
Belgium 40.8
France 16.2
Germany 23.3
Italy 18.6
Luxembourg* 87.2
Netherlands 49.5
United Kingdom 22.0
* 1960–68 only; figures for 1969 not available.

Miss Quennell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will define the precise meaning of the terms "excise", "customs", "tariff" and "levy" currently in use in the present European Economic Community negotiations, and define any difference that exists between the United Kingdom's application of these duties, and that of the Community.

Mr. Higgins

In United Kingdom terminology an excise duty is one which is charged only on goods produced within the country; a customs duty is one which is charged only on imported goods; the

On this basis, the figures for years where they are available are as follows:

term "tariff" generally means in this context the list of protective customs duties currently in force; and the term "levy" refers to an import levy chargeable by virtue of Orders made under the Agriculture and Horticulture Act, 1964, in the interest of maintaining stable markets in the United Kingdom for specified agricultural or horticultural produce. The Community uses the term "internal tax"—sometimes mistranslated as "excise duty"—to describe a tax which, like the United Kingdom purchase tax, is charged equally on imported and home-produced goods. If we were to join the Community it would be necessary to replace our existing excise duties and the corresponding customs duties with internal taxes plus separate protective customs duties in certain cases. So far as the other terms are concerned there are no differences between the United Kingdom and Community concepts. There are, of course, differences in administration, rates and coverage.