17. What position his Department took at the Competitiveness Council discussions on 4 December 2014 on the product safety and market surveillance package and the provision of mandatory origin marking on consumer products manufactured or imported. (906879)
The UK’s position on the product safety and market surveillance package remains unchanged: we oppose the inclusion of mandatory country of origin marking in the consumer product safety regulation. The issue was briefly raised at the Competitiveness Council meeting on 4 December, but no formal discussion or decisions were taken.
I thank the Minister for that reply, but I am disappointed. On the grounds of public health and putting British manufacturing on a level playing field, we desperately need to hold a consultation and do the necessary research to make the case for compulsory country of origin marking, so that when we turn over a cup or saucer we know exactly where it was manufactured. Why cannot the Government abandon their opposition to that deregulatory measure?
The hon. Lady is a long-standing campaigner on and advocate for that issue. I do not believe it is a product safety matter, but she is right to say that there is a genuine issue that businesses in her constituency and other parts of the country are concerned about. We are looking into the matter in more detail and we expect a UK study on country of origin marking to complete by next month. The Commission has announced its own study on origin marking, which we will consider closely.