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Pig-Iron (Imports)

Volume 319: debated on Tuesday 2 February 1937

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42.

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.