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Binoculars Opera Glasses, And Leather Goods

Volume 155: debated on Monday 19 June 1922

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asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the statement of a firm in the City of London that the export department of their business in cheap grades of French binoculars and opera glasses had been seriously interfered with owing to the imposition of a duty of 33⅓ per cent., and that their business had decreased during the early months of this year against the same period of 1921 by 60 per cent. to 70 per cent.; whether he is aware of the statement of a fancy leather and bag manufacturer in London that his trade with Canada and the United States in bags containing low-priced ladies' opera glasses had also been seriously interfered with owing to the payment of this duty, and that the procedure for obtaining drawback is unworkable and whether he is prepared to take any action to ensure such businesses being continued until similar competitive goods are manufactured in Great Britain?

I am not satisfied that the decline in the particular business mentioned in the first part of the question can he ascribed to any appreciable extent to the cause suggested. My attention has been called to the complaint mentioned in the second part of the question, and I am in communication with the Commissioners of Customs with a view to ascertaining to what extent it is warranted. In the meantime, the last part of the question does not arise.

Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is making inquiries into this subject and into the allegations in the question?