Paper Imports (EFTA Countries)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th January 1977.

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Photo of Mr John Ovenden Mr John Ovenden , Gravesend 12:00 am, 10th January 1977

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will introduce a licensing system in respect of individual imports of paper products entering the United Kingdom from the United Kingdom's former EFTA partners under the duty-free quota system.

Photo of Mr John Ovenden Mr John Ovenden , Gravesend

Would not my hon. Friend agree that a system which decides whether to impose duties solely by reference to the amount of imports during the year perhaps leads to a rush to import early in the year and an artificial level of imports during the year as a whole? Is it possible to have a system which determines whether a particular batch of imports is necessary or unnecessary in deciding whether to impose duties?

Photo of Michael Meacher Michael Meacher Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Trade)

The EEC-EFTA agreement as it affects paper and board products states clearly that there are to be no new quantitative restrictions between the Community and EFTA countries. I understand my hon. Friend to be recommending that we should examine the question of the allocation of the quotas. I am prepared to do so, although I must point out that we would have to state clearly in such a declaration exactly the criteria by which we allocated quotas and that for practical reasons that would be difficult and would also involve administrative costs. I will, however, look at the suggestion.