§ Mr. Pendry
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has about the extent and trend of subsidised imports of cigarettes; from which main countries they come; what information he has about the margin by which such imports undercut the price of domestically produced cigarettes; what representations he has received about the implications of these imports for the competitiveness and viability of the United Kingdom cigarette industry; and what action he proposes to take.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
Concern has been expressed by the United Kingdom cigarette manufacturing industry about the competitive impact of imports of cheap brands of cigarettes. According to estimates provided by the industry imports of cheap brands have risen from 0.1 billion in 1983 to 9.6 billion in 1986 of which about 90 per cent. come from the Federal Republic of Germany (including West Berlin). The 1986 import figure represents about 10 per cent. of United Kingdom cigarette consumption. The industry has estimated that these imports can undercut the retail prices of United Kingdom manufactured brands by up to 20p per packet of 20 cigarettes, particularly as a result of marginal costing policies pursued by foreign manufacturers. If it can be shown that the price differential is due to unfair subsidies the Government will take the matter up with the European Commission.