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Imported Machinery (Duty)

Volume 529: debated on Tuesday 29 June 1954

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21.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the lifting of certain restrictions on the importation of dollar machinery, he will use his powers, where applications to import machinery are granted, to permit such machinery to be imported duty free.

My right hon. Friend has under consideration the question of duty-free licensing of imports of machinery, including machinery from dollar sources, in the light of the report of the committee which was set up to consider this subject. He hopes to be able to publish the report and make a statement before the House rises for the Summer Recess.

Does the Minister not think that since the announcement he made on 21st June that the whole purpose of the restriction on the importation of dollar machinery was to reduce cost, it is an anomaly that even now he should grant applications to import this dollar machinery and not waive the duty?

We are at cross-purposes. The import policy is quite distinct from the policy of duty-free licensing, and as regards the latter we must clearly await the report and my right hon. Friend's announcement on that report.

Will the Minister bear in mind the beneficial effect which the removal of duty would have on the export trade?

All these matters will be taken very much into consideration before my right hon. Friend makes his announcement.