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Educational Books And Films

Volume 655: debated on Thursday 15 March 1962

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asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken to ensure the temporary free exchange, exempt from all customs and similar duties, of books, periodicals, papers, works of art, and documentary or cultural films, for educational and noncommercial purposes, in accordance with the Agreement on the importation of educational, scientific, and cultural materials signed by Her Majesty's Government in New York in November, 1950.


asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he has taken to facilitate the temporary free exchange between other countries and Great Britain of films for educational and non-commercial purposes.

Under various statutory provisions, all articles covered by this Agreement may be imported free of Customs duty.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Customs officers are intepreting this rather unilaterally and applying it only to films produced under the auspices of U.N.E.S.C.O.? Is he aware that a number of useful films which are educational and non-commercial are made in various countries, and will he see that the Custom exemption applies over all?

It would help if the hon. Gentleman would give me details of any specific cases.

Is the President of the Board of Trade aware that this is extremely cumbersome and very expensive for organisations trying to bring educational matter into this country, and will he look at it again?

The provisions are perhaps complicated in themselves and call for a good deal of detail. But I will look at the point.