§ Mr. Temple-Morris
asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) why import duty is not levied on research medical equipment bought abroad; and why it is levied on diagnostic medical equipment;
(2) whether he will consider lifting the imposition of import duty from diagnostic medical equipment bought from charitable 257W funds; and if he will give the reasons for his decision.
§ Mr. Deakins
Under Section 6 of, and paragraph 3 of the Fourth Schedule to, the Import Duties Act 1958 duty may be remitted on imported equipment to be used for certain clearly defined non-commercial purposes, one of which is scientific research. This condition reflects the obligations imposed by the UNESCO Florence Agreement of which the United Kingdom is a signatory. Medical equipment to be used wholly for diagnostic purposes is thus not eligible for duty relief. Nor does the law provide for the waiving of import duty on articles purchased out of charitable funds.
Duty remission was granted recently in respect of some medical equipment to be used partly for diagnostic and partly for research purposes which had been bought from charitable funds donated as a result of an appeal organised by two of the hon. Member's constituents.