HC Deb 13 April 1981 vol 3 cc4-5W
31. Mr. Edward Lyons

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will take steps to raise tariffs for goods from countries whose tariffs against similar goods from the United Kingdom are inordinately high.

Mr. Parkinson

The widely varied tariff structures of different countries reflect the various tariffs operated before the conclusion of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1947, and the extent of the obligations to lower tariffs that have been undertaken in successive rounds of negotiation in the GATT. The opration by some countries in some sectors of tariffs much higher than the Community's common customs tariff on corresponding goods is not contrary to the international trade rules and does not constitute a reason for us to propose increases in the level of Community tariffs.

Some such disparities are being gradually reduced by the phased tariff cuts agreed at the end of the Tokyo round in 1979, and account is taken of the treatment certain newly industrialising countries give our exports in framing policy towards concessions for them under the Community's generalised preference scheme.