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Materials And Equipment (Exports)

Volume 486: debated on Monday 9 April 1951

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why he requested that changes should be made by the oil companies secretariat in the analysis of the value of orders placed by oil companies for materials and equipment exported from the United Kingdom; and whether he is aware that the 20 new categories do not permit of analysis into the three main categories of manufactured equipment, steel products and fabricated steel.

The changes in the classification of orders for equipment placed by the oil companies, to which my hon. Friend refers, were made at the request, not of my Department, but of the petroleum industry. They were intended to reduce the volume of work which falls on the oil companies materials secretariat, and they have, I understand, given general satisfaction.

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that answer, may I ask if he can say whether there was any pressure from the American companies on the British companies to change the system of analysis?

No, Sir. I never heard of any such pressure. It was the secretariat of the oil companies Materials Committee which asked for the change.

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that this system of analysing oil equipment and the volume of oil equipment does not give full credit to the magnificent job that is being done by British oil equipment producers and British manufacturers, who are now supplying about 80 per cent. of the equipment needed for the oil industry?

The Council of British Manufacturers of Petroleum Equipment have stated specifically that these categories—I am quoting their own words—

"provided a format likely to be more satisfactory for their purpose."