Import Duties (Empire Labour Content).

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 29th November 1932.

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Photo of Mr Alexander Ramsay Mr Alexander Ramsay , West Bromwich

6.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what proportion of Empire labour content the Government have decided to specify in respect of imported goods receiving preference under the Ottawa Agreements Act, 1932?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

The existing rule prescribes that manufactured goods consigned from the Empire, in order to enjoy free entry or preferential treatment, must October, 1932, respectively; and to what foreign countries was this bromine exported?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

As the answer involves a number of figures I will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

As bromine is an ingredient in poison gas, is there any means of controlling the exports from this country?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I am not sure that there are. I should not like to give a definite answer without notice.

Following is the answer:

contain at least 25 per cent. of Empire labour and material. The only exceptions hitherto made to this rule have been in regard to sugar and tobacco, to which special considerations apply, and in respect of optical glass and optical elements which is also a special case for which a requirement of 75 per cent. has been laid down. The question of increasing the 25 per cent. requirement in respect of certain classes of goods is at present under active consideration.

Photo of Mr Alexander Ramsay Mr Alexander Ramsay , West Bromwich

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is great anxiety on this question and that unless the Empire content is increased much more than 25 per cent. a great deal of the value of the duty imposed by the Imports Duties Act will be lost to this country?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

We have been in such close contact with all interests concerned that I am well aware of the anxiety. It is not a simple matter, but we are going ahead as fast as we can.

Photo of Mr Cecil Pike Mr Cecil Pike , Sheffield, Attercliffe

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that there is no truth in the allegation that the Canadian corridor is being used by the United States as a means of evading the duty?

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any reply to the typewriter trade, which has been exploited for months by an evasion of the duty imposed?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

The typewriter case is one which we have under active consideration. With regard to the other question, perhaps the hon. Member will put it on the Order Paper.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Can the right hon. Gentleman give us some idea when this trade, which has suffered so long, may expect to have a reasonable and satisfactory answer?

Photo of Mr John Remer Mr John Remer , Macclesfield

Is the President aware that Dominion Governments impose an Empire content of 50 per cent. on British goods going into their countries?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

That is not a uniform rate. There is a great variety of rates, as we learned at Ottawa.