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Trade And Commerce

Volume 236: debated on Tuesday 4 March 1930

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Russian Refined Petroleum (Imports)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will give the imports of refined petroleum from Russia for the 12 months ended to the last convenient date?

During the year ended 31st January, 1930, the quantity of refined petroleum imported into the United Kingdom and registered as consigned from the Soviet Union (Russia) was approximately 220,800,000 gallons. This quantity included 87,200,000 gallons of lamp oil, 84,600,000 gallons of motor spirit and 27,200,000 gallons of fuel oil.

Tariff Truce


asked the President of the Board of Trade when he expects to be able to give the House the results of the Conference in regard to the proposed tariff truce; and whether it is his intention to issue a White Paper on the subject?

I cannot say when the Conference will conclude its labours. As I have already stated, the proposals of the Conference in their final form will be communicated to the House.

Import And Export Restrictions (Convention)


asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of nations which have ratified the Geneva Convention of 1927 on the abolition of import and export restrictions; which other nations must ratify this Convention in order to make it binding; and the latest date by which ratifications must be deposited?

By virtue of a Protocol drawn up in Paris in December last, the Convention has been brought formally into force between 17 countries as from 1st January last. The hon. and gallant Member will find a full statement of the present position of the Convention on page 59 of the Board of Trade Journal of 9th January, of which I am sending him a copy.

Norway (British Commercial Travellers)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any fee is payable by British commercial travellers seeking business in Norway; what is the amount of such fee; and whether there has been any alteration in the amount during the past six months?

Commercial travellers not inhabitants of Norway and seeking business in that country are required to take out a licence for which a fee of 100 Kroner or about £5 10s. is charged for each period of 30 days or part thereof during which it is valid. A law of 21st June, 1929, which was to have taken effect on 1st January of this year, proposed to increase this fee to 200 Kroner for the first 30 days and 100 Kroner for each subsequent 15 days, but the old rate has recently been restored and I understand that arrangements are being made for the refund of any difference in the fees paid by travellers who took out licences after 1st January at the increased rate.

Foreign Imports (Marking)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the provisions for marking imported articles as of foreign origin are being evaded by certain importers in that the notification is printed in such small type and in such obscure places as to give the impression that the articles are of British make; and is he aware that this practice is not confined to fragile articles or those whose artistic appearance would suffer from a legible inscription; and what action he proposes to take in the matter?

If the hon. Member will furnish me with particulars of any such cases, I shall be happy to investigate them.

Arising out of that answer—[HON. MEMBERS: "Sit down!"]—may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware how pleased the whole House is to see him back again?



asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give the comparative figures of British export trade with Egypt for the last five years, showing the proportion of that trade to the total imports into into Egypt?

With the hon. Member's permission, I will circulate the figures in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following are the figures:

The following statement shows the total value of merchandise imported into Egypt during each of the years 1925 to 1929, and distinguishes the proportions, consigned from the United Kingdom.

YearTotal.Of which from U.K.Proportion from U.K.
Thousand £.Thousand £.Per cent.
Values have been converted from Egyptian currency at the rate of 975 L.E. = £1.
The figures for 1929 are provisional.

Empire Wink (Foreign Substitutes)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that an alcoholic beverage, synthetically prepared from concentrated grape juice imported from Greece and other foreign countries, to which has been added grain spirit or potato spirit and other substances, is commonly sold in substitution for Empire wine or port wine; and what steps he proposes to take to prevent this substitution?

I have no information regarding the practice to which my hon. Friend refers. It is an offence under the Merchandise Marks Acts to apply to any goods a trade description which is false in any material respect, for instance, as regards the place or country in which the goods are made or produced or as to the material of which they are composed. If my hon. Friend will send me particulars of any cases which he has in mind, I will look into them.

Cotton Industry (Inquiry)


asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the increasing gravity of the situation in the cotton industry, he can hold out any hope of an early Report of the inquiry at present proceeding and prompt action following upon it?

As I stated on Tuesday last in reply to a similar question by the hon. and gallant Member for Clitheroe, the Cotton Inquiry is being pushed on as expeditiously as possible.

Is the Prime Minister aware that the position of the cotton industry in Lancashire is as bad, if not worse, than the condition of the coal industry?

May I draw the Prime Minister's attention to an article in this week's newspapers—