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Volume 481: debated on Wednesday 22 November 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware of the grave risks of smuggling of rubber to Siam and Indonesia as a result of the wide differential between the internal and the external value of rubber which will arise from the imposition of the new rubber duty; and if he is satisfied that an adequate service is available to prevent it.

There is some risk of smuggling of rubber to Thailand, but owing to the limited means of communication it is not considered that this could reach any considerable proportions. On present information, there is no immediate likelihood of differentials in duty providing much inducement for smuggling to Indonesia.

Does not the Minister realise that if the duty is fixed at anything like the rate now suggested the difference between the price in Malaya, Indonesia and Thailand will be enormous and smuggling will spring up on a very large scale?

The fact that there is a risk of smuggling is no conclusive reason against the new duty.

Whatever the risk may be, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the people of this country will continue to expect a large proportion of the price of rubber to be available for social purposes in Malaya?