HC Deb 17 March 1988 vol 129 cc672-3W
Mr. David Davis

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will announce the Government's decision on the question of disclosure of importers' details, on which the Government consulted interested parties in 1987.

Mr. Lilley

The Government intend to legislate in the 1988 Finance Bill to permit disclosure by sale of the names and addresses of importers. This follows the public consultation announced in last year's Budget debate in which a majority of those asked were in favour of the steps being taken. Customs and Excise will provide marketing agents monthly with the names and addresses of importers as shown on import declarations. The names will be listed against each of the nine digit commodity codes as published in the integrated tariff of the United Kingdom. The charge to marketing agents will be set at a level to cover Customs' costs. The marketing agents will be free to publish the information in a form and at a price attractive to their customers. The current arrangements known as suppressions will be continued. It is hoped to implement the arrangements from January 1989. This proposal should add significantly to the free flow of information on which competitive and efficient markets rely. Both industry and customers should benefit through improvements in the effectiveness of marketing, market research and product development.