Import Duties.

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 24th May 1938.

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Photo of Mr Alan Chorlton Mr Alan Chorlton , Bury

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will give a table of import duties for this country now in force compared in effect and value with those originally fixed, in order to determine whether they were adequately raised to balance the effect of managd currencies, etc., in other countries?

Mr. Stanley:

A full list of import duties is published twice a year in the Customs and Excise Tariff. If any manufacturer feels dissatisfied with the existing rates charged under the Import Duties Act, 1932, or the Safeguarding of Industries Act, 1921, it is open to him to apply to the Import Duties Advisory Committee for increased protection.

Photo of Mr Alan Chorlton Mr Alan Chorlton , Bury

Is it not possible for the Import Duties Advisory Committee to deal with this matter without having received an application?

Mr. Stanley:

This method was laid down by this House a few years ago, and I believe that it has worked very satisfactorily, and that this House would be very reluctant to take the course suggested.

Photo of Mr Alan Chorlton Mr Alan Chorlton , Bury

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Import Duties Advisory Committee were requested to take notice of the trading conditions affecting import duties in other countries in order to determine the need for the modification of the duties levied in this country?

Mr. Stanley:

The Import Duties Act empowers the Committee to take all the relevant considerations into account.

Photo of Colonel Sir Joseph Nall Colonel Sir Joseph Nall , Manchester Hulme

Would the right hon. Gentleman not consider the desirability of raising the general ad valorem duty on imports?

Mr. Stanley:

The Import Duties Advisory Committee is concerned with individual applications by individual trades.

Photo of Colonel Sir Joseph Nall Colonel Sir Joseph Nall , Manchester Hulme

Does it not apply to the general duty?

Mr. Stanley:

No, Sir. It is concerned with the circumstances in which a particular duty has to be considered rather than with measures of general application.

Photo of Mr John Cartland Mr John Cartland , Birmingham King's Norton

Is it not a fact that this committee was asked to consider the national interest in all these particular duties, and would not a survey from time to time of general trade conditions be in the national interest?

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what basis of valuation is adopted in fixing the value for duty purposes on goods imported from countries which pay export subsidies and, in respect of goods invoiced in German marks, whether account is taken of the fact that these marks may be import-blocked marks, or whether, by arrangement with the German authorities, they are interchangeable substantially below the nominal rate of exchange so as to provide the exporter with an export subsidy; and whether he is satisfied that there is no loss to the revenue on this account?

Photo of Mr Thomas Levy Mr Thomas Levy , Elland

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Import Duty charged upon German motor cars imported into this country is based upon the value as set out in the invoices accompanying the vehicles, or whether the value of the vehicles in the country of origin is taken into account?

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

The definition of value in Section 10 of the Finance Act, 1935, is applied to all imported goods chargeable with duty ad valorem. That value is in effect the price the goods would fetch in a free market at the port of importation, which may differ materially both from the invoice price and from the value in the country of origin. The basis on which any sterling received for the goods is converted into foreign currency by the seller is not, therefore, necessarily a relevant consideration.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

Could the Chancellor give a specific instance and say what the value for duty purposes is adjudged to be on Opel cars imported into this country?

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

I was merely asked to state what was the basis of valuation, and I have done so. Application to a particular case is another matter.

Photo of Mr Oliver Locker-Lampson Mr Oliver Locker-Lampson , Birmingham Handsworth

Does it not look as though these cars came in at far below the original cost price?

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

Would the Chancellor be able to give me an answer if I put down a further question?

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

I am not really sure that it would be proper for me to reply.