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Departmental Surveys

Volume 978: debated on Friday 15 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the statistical surveys at present operated by his Department.

The statistical inquiries, together with their frequencies, carried out by my Department in the distributive and service trades are as follows:

  • (2)if he will take steps to protect British trading interests against the effects of the regulations of crude oil and gas prices in the United States, which is causing serious distortion in the European market for hydrocarbon feed stocks;
  • (3) if, in view of the threat to British and European chemical industries from subsidised chemical feedstock exports from the United States of America, he will raise the matter in the Council of Ministers of the EEC as a matter of urgency;
  • (4) if he will approach the United States Government to allow the free export of gasoline, naphtha and gas oil from the United States of America immediately;
  • (5) if he will, as a matter of urgency, initiate discussions with the United States Government with a view to the removal of United States Government regulation of crude oil and gas prices, in view of the element of unfair subsidy to United States producers which this regulation produces.
  • I am very aware of this problem. Formal discussions have already taken place between the EEC Commission and the United States authorities under article XXIII of the GATT on the question of synthetic textiles. I shall continue to monitor the situation carefully in respect of the chemical industry, and shall not hesitate to raise it in the EEC Council of Ministers should this appear to be necessary. The United States Government has annouuced its intention of phasing out controls on oil prices by September 1981 and on gas prices by 1985. The United States Government is aware of our view that these price controls provide sectors of United States industry with an unfair trading advantage.