§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what rates of tariff are currently applicable to United Kingdom imports of catering tableware from the United States of America, and of similar United Kingdom exports into the USA; what action he is taking to reduce the difference; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Wilson
[holding answer 1 February 1999]: The current customs tariffs on imports of catering tableware into the UK from the United States of America are 12 per cent. for articles of porcelain or china, and 5 per cent., 5.5 per cent. or 9 per cent. for articles other than porcelain or china. The US tariffs for similar products are 30 per cent. and 31.5 per cent. respectively. The UK is committed to further multilateral liberalisation of trade including significant reductions in US peak tariffs on catering tableware. The issue will be addressed as part of a comprehensive, cross-sectoral multilateral World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiation on industrial tariffs. To date WTO member countries have still to commit themselves to such a negotiation. However, I am hopeful that the WTO Ministerial Conference in the USA next November will be able to agree on the need to make preparations for further multilateral negotiations on liberalising industrial tariffs. I do not, therefore, propose to make a statement.