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Eggs And Egg Purchase

Volume 655: debated on Thursday 15 March 1962

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22.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the continued dumping into this country of eggs and egg products from Poland, China and other countries; what applications he has received for anti-dumping measures to protect British egg-producers; and if he will make a statement.

33.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if the Egg Marketing Board has made an official application for an anti-dumping duty on Polish eggs coming into this country; and if he will make a statement.

I have nothing at present to add to the reply given on 5th March to a similar Question by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Knutsford (Sir W. Bromley-Davenport).

Is it not a stupid policy for the President of the Board of Trade to allow the continuous dumping of eggs in this country to the detriment of home producers? Is he not aware that this policy is crippling many small home egg producers? Also, why did not the right hon. Gentleman agree to meet representatives of the egg producers who wished to discuss this matter with him? Finally, will he give an assurance that in future he will not allow eggs—or any other produce—to be dumped in this country when plenty are being produced by our home producers?

As regards dumping, it would be a stupid policy if that was the one being followed, but there is no question of eggs being dumped all the year round, as suggested by the hon. Gentleman. As regards the request of the chairman of the Egg Marketing Board to see me, I thought that as the information had already been made available to my Department and applications had been made for anti-dumping duties to be considered, it was best for those matters to be looked at rather than that they should be repeated to me while the applications were under consideration. As regards the policy of importing foodstuffs, that is a very wide question which I would rather see on the Order Paper.

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that every day's delay is making matters worse? Is not he aware that eggs are being dumped in this country, contrary to what he says? Would not he agree that what is wanted is action before these countries unload their spring flush on to this country, rather than after they have done so?

It is not just a question of dumping, but also of material injury and of national interest. As regards frozen eggs, the application has already gone in in respect of eggs which have not arrived in this country, because the application relates to the egg year beginning 1st April, 1962. As regards foreign eggs at present coming into this country, total imports in January of this year were only a little over half for January of last year, and imports from Poland were less than one-sixth of what they were in January last year.

Is not this a case in which my right hon. Friend's hand ought to be strengthened by further legislation so that he can act more quickly than he can under the present law?

The law gives me the power to act quickly, provided I get information quickly. Some of the delays arise through the inability of the applicants, for one reason or another, to supply the information quickly, but I am answering this Question in general terms, and I do not want to be taken as implying criticism this year in respect of eggs.