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Match Industry (Revised Swedish Agreement)

Volume 526: debated on Monday 5 April 1954

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asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will now make a further statement about the action which he proposes to take on the Report of the Monopolies Commission on the Match Industry.

Yes. The British Match Corporation have undertaken to carry out all the recommendations of the Commission which the Government have accepted. In addition, the Corporation and the Swedish Match Company have been in negotiation with a view to the conclusion of a revised Agreement which would eliminate those features of the earlier Agreements which the Government considered objectionable. These negotiations have been concluded and a new Agreement has just been signed.In this new Agreement the arrangements about quotas and compensation have been eliminated and there is no provision for sharing the United Kingdom market between the British Match Corporation and the Swedish company in a predetermined proportion. There is no restriction on the expansion of United Kingdom manufacturing capacity or of sales of matches either by the British Match Corporation or by the Swedish company. The United Kingdom's interests overseas which were secured by the earlier agreement have been preserved.I am arranging for copies of the new Agreement to be available in the Vote Office. In the light of the outcome of the negotiations I do not propose to take any further action at present, but I shall, of course, watch how the new arrangements work in practice.