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Coal (Imports)

Volume 640: debated on Thursday 11 May 1961

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asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give details of any applications he has received for the import of foreign coal in the current year; how many licences he has granted; and whether he will make a statement.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many applications for permits for the import of coal from the United States of America have been made by steel firms; and how many have been granted.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that imports of coal from the United States of America will meet opposition from miners; and whether, in view of this, he will refrain from granting licences for these imports.

Apart from small quantities for special purposes, no licences for imports of coal have been granted since the beginning of 1958 and only one application has recently been received. I am considering the important issues involved in this case with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Power.

asked the President of the Board of Trade why he has granted an import permit for United States coal to a steel firm in the North-East; and what is the quantity and value of this licence.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what effect he estimates imports of coal will have on the balance of payments; and what steps he takes to restrict imports detrimental to vital United Kingdom industries.

Since no imports, other than small quantities for special purposes, are at present allowed, it would be unrealistic to estimate the effects of imports of coal on the balance of payments. It is not the Government's general policy to use import controls to restrict imports although a few limited categories of goods, including coal, are still controlled by import licensing.