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Steel Rails (Export Tax).

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies. – in the House of Commons on 9th April 1919.

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Photo of Mr Thomas Blane Mr Thomas Blane , Leicester South

105.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that Belgium is about to place large orders for rails; that German firms are quoting £2 per ton less than British firms, which difference is represented by the Export Tax from this country; and can he see his way to immediately remove this tax so that British firms may secure the orders?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I am not aware of any quotations by German concerns in the case to which the hon. Member refers, but I understand that a quotation was made by a company having works in Luxemburg, which is stated by the Belgian Government to be Belgian controlled and to employ almost entirely Belgian labour. As regards the latter part of the question, there is no export duty on steel rails, but the hon. Member apparently has in mind the refund required by the Government of subsidies on steel production in the case of steel manufactures exported. These subsidies will cease on the 30th April, and the consequential refund on exports will come to an end in due course.

Photo of Mr George Terrell Mr George Terrell , Chippenham

Are we to understand that no trade relations are allowed between Germany and Belgium?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

That does not arise out of the question.

Photo of Mr Thomas Blane Mr Thomas Blane , Leicester South

If the hon. Gentleman will receive it, I shall be pleased to supply all the information that prompted the question.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I shall be very glad to receive it.