HC Deb 04 December 1981 vol 14 cc245-6W
Mr. Hoyle

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) whether, in view of the recent redundancies at the Thorn factory in Merthyr Tydfil, he will take immediate steps to reduce the import of electric light bulbs;

(2) whether he will introduce measures to safeguard the British electric lamp industry, in view of the substantial imports to the British market which will take place from the Tunsgram manufacturing plant in Cork in the next 12 months;

(3) if, in view of the threatened dislocation of the British electric lamp market likely to be caused by the coming into production of the Tunsgram manufacturing plant in Cork, with a capacity of 30 million lamps per year, he will enter into negotiations with the Government of the Republic of Ireland to secure a voluntary limitation of imports of lamps into the United Kingdom;

(4) if he will investigate whether the Tunsgram electric lamp manufacturing plant in Cork is dumping electric lamps on the British market.

Mr. Peter Rees

[pursuant to his reply, 2 December 1981, c. 115]: Several hon. Members have already written to me about the prospect that light bulbs from the new factory near Cork may be sold in substantial numbers in the United Kingdom. I cannot forecast to what extent imports from the Irish Republic may in fact come to displace home production or, alternatively, other imports. In 1980 a total of 24.5 million bulbs were imported from all sources compared with estimated sales in the United Kingdom of 200 million.

Restrictions on trade between European Community countries are legally possible only in limited circumstances, which on present information do not appear to apply in this case and which would not permit a voluntary limitation on exports from the Republic. In particular, there is no provision for anti-dumping against intra-Community trade.

Equally, of course, British-made goods in this and other industries enjoy similarly open access to all other European Community markets.

In respect of imports of bulbs from outside the Community, I shall keep the situation under review; but here also restrictions can be introduced only in conformity with our international trading obligations. Anti-dumping action, however, is possible here, and in fact price undertakings were successfully negotiated by the Commission with certain Eastern European countries in 1980. Recent on-the-spot monitoring has confirmed that these undertakings are being adhered to.