Skip to main content

Trade Restrictions

Volume 35: debated on Monday 17 January 1983

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Minister for Trade how many applications for restrictions on imports have been made since 1970 under article XIX of the general agreement on tariffs and trade; how many applications have resulted in restrictions being imposed; in how many instances compensation has been paid; what has been the value of this compensation; and in how many instances retaliation has occurred.

Since 1970, 61 notifications have been made to the contracting parties of the general agreement on tariffs and trade—GATT—of proposed action under article XIX of the GATT. Restrictive measures have been imposed in 33 cases. There is no requirement under article XIX for contracting parties to be notified if compensation is negotiated to avoid recourse to retaliation. This information is therefore not generally available. Retaliatory measures under article XIX:3 have been taken on one occasion since 1970.

asked the Minister for Trade on what occasions a European Economic Community member State has imposed restrictions on trade in accordance with the provisions of article 109 of the Treaty of Rome; and on what occasions such restrictions have been accepted by the Council of Ministers.

Although the number of occasions of recourse to article 109 has probably been small, the hon. Member's question could be exhaustively answered only at disproportionate cost.The only recent case of the article's being invoked was in relation to an import deposit scheme introduced by Italy on 28 May 1981 and, in accordance with Council decisions, subsequently modified and withdrawn on 7 February 1982.

asked the Minister for Trade if he will estimate the average level of tariff that would be imposed on (a) all British exports and (b) British manufactured exports to the European Economic Community countries if those exports were to be subject to the European Economic community's common customs tariff (i) at its current level and (ii) at its expected level in 1985.

The White Paper "General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade—the Multilateral Trade Negotiations 1973–79" (Cmnd. 7724) estimated that there would be a reduction in the Community tariff from an average trade weighted level of 9·8 per cent. in 1979 to an average level of 7·5 per cent. in 1987 for industrial goods. Since most cuts in industrial products are to be implemented in eight equal stages between 1 January 1980 and 1 January 1987, the average tariff in industrial products will be about 8·1 per cent. in 1983 and 8·1 per cent. in 1985. Further information is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

asked the Minister for Trade on what occasions an application has been made by the United Kingdom or other contracting parties to apply import restraints under the terms of article XII of the general agreement on tariffs and trade; on what occasions such applications have led to action being taken to restrain imports; and in which cases this action has provoked retaliations.

Since the immediate post-war period, the United Kingdom has invoked article XII of the general agreement on tariffs and trade—GATT—once, to safeguard its balance of payments position in 1964. The United Kingdom did not impose import restrictions. I regret that the information requested about other contracting parties could be provided only at disproportionate cost. I am not aware of any case in which retaliation has been a direct consequence of measures taken under article XII.