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Coal Industry

Volume 976: debated on Tuesday 18 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list in the Official Report the present level of capital investment per miner in the coal industry compared with other EEC countries.

The latest estimates on a comparable basis provided by the Commission and the statistical office of the European Communities are as follows:Indonesian tariffs on imports from the United Kingdom range from 5 per cent. to over 100 per cent. for some consumer goods. Basic raw materials and goods, including machinery, for industry attract low tariffs of around 5 per cent. to 15 per cent.The Philippines imposes tariffs ranging for the most part from 10 per cent. up to 100 per cent. and more. Machinery, raw materials and essential goods generally attract tariff towards the lower end of this range, while consumer goods and those classified as luxuries attract tariffs towards the upper end.Thailand's tariffs range from 5 per cent. to as high as 150 per cent, for some consumer items. Imports needed by Thai industry generally carry the lower tariffs, whilst non-essential imports including consumer items attract high duties.Malaysia's tariffs range from under 10 per cent. for some basic commodities and food items to 30 per cent. to 50 per cent. for most types of capital goods and some other manufactured goods, to over 100 per cent. for other manufactured goods, in particular consumer goods.As a member of the European Economic Community, the United Kingdom applies the common external tariff to imports from ASEAN countries.For some types of industrial product, all imports from ASEAN and other developing countries enter duty-free under the Community's generalised scheme of preferences (GSP). For other types of product, imports enter duty-free up to specified limits, and imports in excess of these limits attract duty. Preferential tariff rates are also accorded to a range of agricultural products.

Reductions in tariffs: The Community's concessions for 1980 under the GSP honour its commitment to improve the scheme each year up to 1980; and the Community has given a commitment to continue the scheme for a further decade from 1981.

To the extent to which their exports do not attract preferential rates under the GSP, the ASEAN countries will benefit from the reductions in the common customs tariff to which the Community has agreed in the Tokyo Round of multilateral trade negotiations. The Community is to implement staged tariff reductions over the years 1980–87 on products accounting for 67 per cent. of her dutiable industrial imports from Singapore; 76 per cent. of her dutiable industrial imports from Malaysia; 98 per cent. of her dutiable industrial imports from Thailand; 87 per cent. of her dutiable industrial imports from the Philippines; and 92 per cent. of her dutiable industrial imports from Indonesia. The Community's concessions include cuts greater than those called for by the standard tariff cutting formula on a number of products of particular interest to ASEAN countries. In the agricultural sector, ASEAN countries have benefited from the Community's concessions on tropical products implemented on 1 January 1977, and they stand to benefit from certain other relatively limited reductions in agricultural tariffs which the Community is to implement between 1980 and 1987.

In the declaration which inaugurated the Tokyo round of trade negotiations, developed countries agreed to seek concessions from developing countries only to the extent that these were consistent with their individual development, trade, and financial needs. Some commitments about future tariff levels have been offered by Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, though most of these commitments do not involve a reduction in tariffs from current levels. Thailand is at present applying for provisional membership of the GATT and would be expected to offer commitments on her tariff levels when becoming a full member. As GATT members or provisional members, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia subscribe to the principle agreed in the Tokyo Round that developing countries expect that their capacity to make contributions or negotiated concessions or take other mutually agreed action under the provisions and procedures of the general agreement of tariffs and trade would improve with the progressive development of their economies and improvement in their trade situations.