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Trade And Commerce

Volume 319: debated on Tuesday 2 February 1937

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India (Cotton Piece Goods, Imports)


asked the President of the Board of Trade in view of the recent Japanese official reports that the volume of Japanese cotton-piece goods imported into India was larger in the year 1936 than that supplied by Lancashire, whether he can indicate the latest comparative statistics of imports of these goods from the two sources of supply; and whether the relative ratio disclosed is consistent with the proportionate purchase of Indian Products by Britain and Japan?

The latest figures of Indian trade available relate to the II months ended November, 1936. During that period imports of cotton piece-goods consigned from the United Kingdom amounted to 337,000,000 yards, valued at £5.4 million and from Japan to 431,000,000 yards, valued at £4.2 million. In the same period the value of exports of Indian merchandise to the United Kingdom was £38.4 million and to Japan £8.0 million. Corresponding figures of imports of all merchandise were £33.6 million from the United Kingdom and £14.8 million from Japan. My hon. Friend will recollect that maximum imports of Japanese cotton goods into India are regulated according to the terms of the Indo-Japanese Treaty of 1933 whereby these imports are linked on a quota basis with exports of Indian raw cotton to Japan.

Cotton Industry


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether it is the Government's intention to apply to weaving sections of the cotton trade the principles of the Cotton Spinning Industry Act, 1936; and, if so, whether he can give any indication of the probable date on which legislation will be introduced?

My right hon. Friend has received no proposals from the weaving sections of the cotton trade for legislation on the lines of the Cotton Spinning Industry Act, 1936.

Has any attempt been made by the hon. Gentleman's Department to ascertain whether the weaving section of the trade desire the principles of the Cotton Spinning Industry Act to be applied to that section of the trade?

I believe the weaving sec-ton of the trade has a committee at work, but no report of the results of the work of that committee has yet been made to my Department.

Would the hon. Gentleman address himself to the Supplementary Question which I asked—whether his Department has made any approach to the weaving section of the trade in order to ascertain whether they desire the remedy applied to the spinning section of the trade, to be applied also to the weaving section?


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the purchase of spindles under the Cotton Spinning Industry Act has yet commenced; if so, how many have so far been purchased; and whether he is now in a position to say how many spindles are likely to be dealt with as surplus under the Act?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, I would ask the hon. Member to await the report which the Spindles Board are required to make under Section 20 of the Cotton Spinning Industry Act and which the Board of Trade are required to lay before the House. As regards the third part, I fear that it is impossible for me to forecast the number of spindles that the Spindles Board are likely to purchase.

When may the House reasonably expect the publication of the information asked for in the second part of the question?

Wood Pulp


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the increase by Scandinavian and other Baltic countries of the price of pulp by about 40 per cent.; whether he has information as to the operation of a ring of foreign pulp manufacturers; and whether he will take these facts into consideration when trade agreements with these countries come to an end, especially in view of the fact that foreign newsprint is not subject to a tariff on importation into this country?

I am aware that considerable increases have recently occurred in world prices both of wood pulp and of the timber from which it is made. I am also aware of the Scandinavian and European Conventions for the regulation of pulp production. The answer to the last part is in the affirmative.

Pig-Iron (Imports)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has any information as to the negotiations which are now on foot for the importation of a considerable quantity of pig-iron from Russia; and whether, in view of the increased importation of such material from foreign sources during recent months and the large supplies available, both in this country and the Empire, any steps are being taken to discourage unnecessary importation of foreign pig-iron?

Pig-iron was imported in substantial quantities in 1936 from Russia and other foreign countries and from British India, and I understand that it is likely that the requirements of the British market will require further importations in the current year. My hon. Friend is no doubt aware that foreign pig-iron is subject on importation to a duty of 33⅓ per cent. ad valorem, while Empire pig-iron can be imported free of duty.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a great shortage of what is known as scrap-iron, which puts the pig-iron manufacturers in this country at a great disadvantage?

What is perhaps more relevant to the question under consideration is that there is a very real shortage of pig-iron.

Cinematograph Industry


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the number of cinematograph films that have been made during the previous 12 months, or are being made at the present time for commercial purposes, in which Government property was or is being used; and will he give particulars of what payment has been made to the Government for the use thereof?

I am about to send the hon. Member the information for which he asked in his question on a similar matter on 10th December last; I will add to it such information as can properly be given in reply to his present question.


asked the President of the Board of Trade when it is intended to introduce legislation to implement the findings of the Moyne Committee on the cinematograph industry in this country; and whether he can give an assurance that such legislation will be of a nature that will lead to the better protection of the British film industry?

I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend on 8th December last.

Does my hon. Friend realise that this industry is in a very serious position, and will he give it notice that unless they come to some decision shortly the Government will take action on their own account?

I think that legislation in connection with this industry must as far as possible be canvassed with the industry first. I am awaiting replies from within the industry, and I propose to give the industry a full opportunity of considering the way in which it ought to be governed.

Will my hon. Friend ask them to hurry up? Otherwise there will be no industry left.

Does the hon. Gentleman intend to give effect to the report brought in by this Committee, or is he having it pigeon-holed as many other reports have been in the past?


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the fact that British films do not get a reasonable chance in the United States; and whether, in view of the large revenue received by the United States film producers in respect of exhibiting in this country, he can take steps to ensure a greater measure of reciprocity?

Calcium Carbide


asked the President of the Board of Trade the quantity of calcium carbide consumed in Great Britain during the last 12 months for which figures are available; the percentages thereof of home and foreign production, respectively; and the number of factories in Great Britain over which the home production was spread?

The retained imports of calcium carbide in the year 1936 amounted to 1,107,000 cwts. So far as is known, all calcium carbide consumed in this country in recent years has been obtained from imported sources.

Iron And Steel Federation


asked the President of the Board of Trade what is to be done with the profits made by the British Iron and Steel Federation out of their dealings with imported iron and steel, other than iron and steel imported under the cartel agreement?

I am informed that the intention of the Federation is to use any profits there may be for some corporate purpose such as, for instance, the encouragement of the export trade; at the moment, however, they fear that substantial losses may result from some of the later transactions.

Germany (Fats And Oils)


asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether to bring up to date the figures already published for 1934, he will state for the years 1935 and 1936 the amounts of edible fats and oils and of industrial fats and oils, respectively, consumed in Germany, produced in Germany, and imported into Germany?

The Commercial Counsellor to His Majesty's Em-

German Production, Net Imports and Consumption of Oils and Fats in each of the Years 1934, 1935 and 1936.
(Taken from article written by Heir Backe, Under-Secretary of State, German Ministry for Food and Agriculture, in the first copy of "Der Vierjahresplan.")
In 1,000 tons (metric).
Edible tallow252525
Premier jus and oleo-margarine10911
Vegetable oils162740
Technical fats (tallow bone fat, fish oils)485052
Net Imports:
Edible tallow, Premier jus and oleo-margarine1
Technical fats311928
Oil content equivalent from oil seeds676408600
Vegetable oils, oily acids and hard fats347970
Whale oil142248160
Edible tallow, Premier jus and oleo-margarine353436
Other substitute fats151515
Pnre vegetable edible fats6057·155·4
Pure edible oils140136·2126
Industrial fats434378368