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Volume 201: debated on Friday 20 December 1991

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) of 12 December, Official Report, column 501, if he will set out (a) the end-use stated by Iraq for bismuth exports in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1988, respectively, and (b) the reason for commercial confidentiality covering the sale of bismuth to Iraq in 1986.

End user information is required to be submitted to DTI only 'for licensable exports.Information used to compile the Overseas Trade Statistics (OTS), is taken from Customs entries which importers, exporters or declarants on their behalf are required to render under sections 37 and 53 to 54 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979. Under common law information compulsorily required may only be used for the purposes for which it was obtained.Although the OTS does not provide names of importers or exporters, statistics for certain commodities may easily be attributed to specific traders by anyone knowledgeable in that market area; this is particularly a problem where the statistics are broken down by country of consignment or destination. In such circumstances the public release of information may give valuable commercial information to competitors. It is therefore treated in confidence.

Official Report, column 113, what is the average cost of production of an average tonne of steel at (a) Llanwern, (b) Teesside, (c) Dalzell and (d) Scunthorpe.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is his latest estimate of the size of the steel stockpiles in the United Kingdom in the last two years of (a) steel pipes, (b) heavy plate and (c) light plate; and what proportion of each stockpile was imported.

Available information is shown in the following table. Comprehensive information about light and heavy plates, an the proportion of stocks imported, is not collected.