asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, in view of the fact that the exemptions given to goods destined for export by Section 32 of the Trade Descriptions Act and Section 21(5)(b) of the Weights and Measures Act, remove the essential element of quality control for British goods being sold overseas, he will seek powers to remove these exemptions forthwith.
The exemptions under the provisions of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 and the Weights and Measures Act 1963 apply only in respect of indications of quantity, size or gauge, not in respect of quality control. When the Weights and Measures Act was prepared, the exemptions were included on the grounds that many overseas countries operate their own weights and measures legislation and United Kingdom exporters might be at a serious commercial disadvantage if they had to meet both United Kingdom requirements and those of overseas markets. Similar considerations applied in the framing of the Trade Descriptions Act. I have no plans to seek any amendment to the Acts, which are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection.