HC Deb 25 January 1982 vol 16 c269W
Mr. Marlow

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, further to his answer of 21 December 1981 Official Report, column 277, if he will set out in the Official Report details of the Italian import deposit scheme as it affects British footwear, giving (a) the date of imposition, (b) the date of withdrawal, (c) the value of United Kingdom exports affected to date, (d) the value of United Kingdom exports in a similar period over the last three years, (e) the rate of duty, and (f) the value of United Kingdom imports of Italian footwear over the same periods as (c) and (d); what was the attitude of other Community countries when Italy applied under article 109 of the Treaty of Rome; and what action was taken by them.

Mr. Peter Rees

[pursuant to his reply, 21 January 1982, c. 157.]: The Italian deposit requirement applies equally to a wide range of imports, including footwear, from all sources. Following is the information requested:

  1. (a) the scheme was introduced on 28 May 1981.
  2. (b) it is to end on 28 February 1982.
  3. (c) (d) and (f)

United Kingdom Trade in footwear with Italy (£ million)
Exports Imports
June-November 1978 1.3 46.8
June-November 1979 2.2 65.9
June-November 1980 2.3 65.3
September-November*1981 1.2 47.8
*United Kingdom trade figures from March to August 1981 inclusive arenotavailable.

(e) the deposit required initially on per cent. against all drawings of foreign exchange, was reduced to 25 per cent. on 1 October 1981 and 20 per cent. on 1 January 1982. It will be 15 per cent. betwen 1 February and 28 February 1982. There is no other duty.

In common with other Community countries, the British Government regretted that Italy had considered it necessary to introduce this measure. We nevertheless recognised the serious situation of the Italian balance of payments and appreciated the longer-term importance to British business interest in Italy of a satisfactory resolution of the country's economic problems.

Under the provisions of article 109 of the Treaty of Rome, the Council may require a measure to be amended, suspended or abolished as it judges appropriate. In September 1981, after considering the above factors and the difficulties that would be caused if the deposit scheme were to be ended more rapidly, the Finance Ministers Council decided that it should be progressively phased out between 1 October 1981 and 28 February 1982. At the request of the Italian Government, this was subsequently authorised by the Commission under article 108(3) of the Treaty of Rome.