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Japanese Goods

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 8 April 1954

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4.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what further assurances he has received from the Japanese Government that the promises made when the Japanese peace treaty was ratified, regarding fair trading, improvements in workers' standards and other matters, are being fulfilled.

Japan has acceded to all the international conventions which she undertook to join at the signing of the Peace Treaty, including the Madrid Agreement for the prevention of false indication of origin of goods. The Japanese authorities have been co-operative in putting a stop to the copying of designs.

Does that mean that they have also carried out their undertaking about the development of trade unions? Are they allowing democracy and trade unions to develop in Japan, in the way we understand them?

Yes, I think they have now subscribed to the International Labour Organisation. They have joined all the organisations they undertook to join and signed the conventions they undertook to sign at the signing of the Peace Treaty.

Since the signing of these conventions have there not been reports made by our Commercial Attache in Tokio of infringements of designs? What action has the right hon. Gentleman taken to draw the attention of the Japanese authorities to those cases?

There have been some reports, and I would urge any hon. Member, no matter in what quarter of the House he sits, who hears of a case that can be substantiated not by rumour but by solid evidence, to draw it to my attention.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that one of the reasons why Manchester merchants, at any rate, are not reporting some cases to him is that they have no confidence that he will follow them up adequately? Does he remember that when, through his good offices, a conference was convened in Manchester, the only proposal that came out of it was a proposal that merchants should send copies of all their registered designs to the Japanese so that they could look at them and ask traders not to copy them?

I am quite certain that merchants in Manchester, if they know of cases, will draw them to the attention of the Board of Trade.

10.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what types of brooms and brushes are included in the permitted imports from Japan into this country and the Colonial Empire under the sterling payments agreement of 29th January, 1954; and by how much he estimates the needs of this country cannot be met by the production from existing home industries.

All types of brooms, and brushes, other than those containing precious metal, can be imported into the United Kingdom within the recently established quota for Japan. The Trade and Payments Agreement contained no special provisions for imports of brooms and brushes into the Colonies.

As regards the second part of the Question, the United Kingdom exports many more brooms and brushes than she imports.

Why is it necessary to import brooms and brushes if our home industry is capable of supplying our own needs and more?

We could not carry on very long as a trading nation if we adopted that commercial principle. We export many more than we import.