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Spain (Balance Of Trade)

Volume 15: debated on Monday 14 December 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the United Kingdom's balance of trade with Spain in motor vehicles, castings and forgings.

In 1980 there was a crude deficit of £135 million on trade with Spain in motor vehicles and a surplus of £93,000 on trade in iron and steel castings and forgings. It is not possible to identify separately trade in either all castings and forgings or those specific to motor vehicle use.

Does my hon. Friend realise that the imbalance of trade in motor vehicles could be speedily rectified if the discriminatory Spanish import duties and export subsidies were removed, thus allowing the Metro, for example, to compete with the Fiesta? Will my right hon. Friend ensure that no further progress is made in the discussions on Spain's accession to the EEC until suitable undertakings are received from the Spanish Government on discriminatory import duties and export subsidies?

My hon. Friend is right to say that the present Spanish duties have an impact upon our car exports to that market. We have made the most vigorous representations to the Spaniards about this inequity. As my hon. Friend may know, there is a European Community-Spanish joint committee and we have today in Brussels sought to have this issue further discussed.

Is it the Government's policy in the negotiations over Spain's entry into the EEC to insist that there should be free trade in industrial products from the start of any long transition period or at the end of it?

The Government would like to see a transitional arrangement that was reasonably short and that had substantial tariff cuts from the beginning.