asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is yet in a position to make a statement about measures to meet complaints from farmers, firms, organisations and Governments at home and in other parts of the British Commonwealth and Europe regarding imports of butter from Sweden and Finland, having regard to the fact that there is a case of dumping.
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has now reached a decision on the validity of the complaint made by New Zealand and the English Milk Marketing Board on the dumping of butter by foreign suppliers to the United Kingdom market; and whether he will take apropriate action in the national interest under the Customs Duties (Dumping and Subsidies) Act, 1957.
Is my hon. Friend aware that a satisfactory statement about effective action is eagerly awaited by all who are concerned not only for the prosperity and interests of our fellow subjects in New Zealand but for the future of the British export trade to that country?
The hon. Gentleman is forgetting that this is only the second dumping decision which we have had under this comparatively new legislation. I do not think that the House will expect me to make any apology for the fact that very weighty consideration has had to be given to all the matters involved here, including submissions from many Governments.
As this is clearly such a complex matter and many other countries appear to be dumping one kind of food or another in the United Kingdom, will the Government, once they have reached their decision, issue a White Paper setting out fully the considerations which have weighed in this particular case concerning butter?
Is the Minister aware that this matter of trade with New Zealand has been a subject of public notice for a considerable number of weeks? Does he realise that the House, which has a great respect for New Zealand, a country which has been a very loyal and co-operative friend of the United Kingdom, feels that undue delay is being experienced here and that it is time the Government reached not only a settlement but a settlement which will, we hope, be favourable to New Zealand?
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will note my remark that it is hoped to make an announcement early next week. I must remind him also of the procedure in this matter. We had to give reasonable time for all those concerned to submit their arguments, and they were given until the end of March. I do not, therefore, think that it can be said that a really unreasonable time has been taken to consider the very complicated matters involved.
asked the President of the Board of Trade what quantity of butter has been imported from Poland in the first four months of 1958; what has been the average free on board price per cwt. of these imports; what price the consumer pays for butter in Poland; and whether he is satisfied that these relative prices do not contravene the existing anti-dumping agreements.
During January to March, 1958, imports of butter from Poland amounted to 5,796 tons. The figures for April are not yet available.
The Board of Trade has no information about the free-on-board price of these imports, nor about the price the consumer pays for butter in Poland.
With regard to the last part of the Question, there is no anti-dumping agreement with Poland, and the question of contravention of anti-dumping agreements does not arise.
We have received no complaint in regard to Poland. We have, however, recently received representations about the level of Polish butter imports, which we are considering.