asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on tariff negotiations with Spain and Portugal with reference to footwear products.
Portugal is a member of EFTA and so trade in most manufactured goods, including footwear, is duty free in both directions, and will remain so after Portugal joins the Community on 1 January 1986. Spain, however, imposes high import duties on EC manufactures (up to 20·8 per cent. on footwear) in contrast to the much lower EC duties on Spanish manufactures (4·8 per cent. on footwear). It has been agreed in the accession negotiations that import duties on industrial products (including footwear) traded in both directions will be eliminated over a seven year period following Spanish entry, with over half the cuts coming in the first three years. In addition, Spain has to introduce VAT by 1 January 1986, and this will eliminate as from accession existing Spanish tax discrimination against imports. The settlement will as a result open up the Spanish market to United Kingdom exporters, whereas the phased reduction of already low EC duties against Spain should have relatively little impact on Spanish penetration of the United Kingdom market.