Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - British Levy Concessions.


asked the Taoiseach whether the concessions made by the British Government to its EFTA partners in regard to the 15 per cent levy will be available to Irish industrial exporters.

There have not been any concessions announced by the British Government exclusive to members of the European Free Trade Association in relation to the 15 per cent temporary import charge.

Has the Taoiseach's attention been directed to the allegation that appeared in a certain English newspaper that the British Government had agreed with the EFTA partners that industrial goods for export, on foot of contracts completed between the parties prior to the announcement of the 15 per cent levy, would be admitted exempt from the levy?

No. I think the Deputy has misread the announcement. An arrangement has been made, and is incorporated in the British Finance Bill, which exempts suppliers of goods to British customers under contracts which required that these goods would be supplied at prices inclusive of any customs duty, from an obligation to pay the temporary surcharge, but the surcharge would presumably be payable by the importers.

As I understood the publication, there was some concession made to the EFTA partners on the lines indicated by me, that on foot of contracts completed, the levy would not operate on the goods subsequently delivered. May I take it, however, that if there is any mitigation of the impact of the 15 per cent on industrial goods, representations will be made to obtain a corresponding mitigation for Irish industrialists?

Whatever changes are made in the British legislation will be generally applicable, I understand.

I understand the Government will watch the situation and, if any concession is given to the EFTA partners, they will seek the same for us?

The British Government have already promised the Taoiseach that.

Promised what?

That, if there is any change, this country will be the first to be considered.

Promises are one thing and performances are another.