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Volume 930: debated on Wednesday 20 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his policy towards a national or European system of tariff proposals or protection to aid the United Kingdom shipbuilding industry against competition from builders in the Far East.

The United Kingdom is a firm advocate of a Community policy to safeguard the shipbuilding industry, but the Government do not believe that the imposition of tariff barriers is an effective way of dealing with the Far Eastern competition in this industry.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his estimate of the output capacity of the Japanese shipbuilding industry and the percentage of total world orders taken by Japanese yards for the last year for which figures are available.

There is no satisfactory measure of shipbuilding capacity as such. Japan's annual output of approximately 17 million gross tons in the peak production years of 1974 and 1975 is the best available indication of its capacity. According to Lloyd's Register of Shipping, 56 per cent. of world orders by gross tonnage were placed in Japanese yards in 1976.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many of the United Kingdom shipbuilding companies operate in development areas and how many out side; and whether shipbuilding aid will be made available to all builders regardless of location.

Of the shipbuilding companies or groups of companies employing 250 or more persons in the third quarter of 1976, 13, including Harland and Wolff, are located wholly or mainly in development or special development areas. Of the remaining six, three are located in intermediate areas and three are located in non-assisted areas. The companies in the assisted areas employ over 90 per cent. of the total work force engaged in Ship-building. Any assistance to shipbuilding companies will be based on the merits of the case; the location of the yard and other relevant factors will be taken into consideration.