In regard to Section 6, I would like to have some explanation from the Minister on the following point. Assume that there is an investment made by persons from outside, particularly from a dollar area, in an Irish industry, would there be any difficulty placed in that person's or that group of persons' way, if at any time they decided to withdraw their investment? In like regard if as the result of a will made by a party here or investments here or elsewhere will similar difficulties be placed in their way in the matter of convertibility of whatever investments they may have made, or as the result of whatever will or arrangements might have been made?
Exchange Control Bill, 1954—Committee and Final Stages.
With regard to the repatriation of capital and profits that are invested here we do normally allow such repatriation, provided it is applied for within a reasonable time. As far as the question of properties that are devised by will is concerned, that of course depends to some extent on the circumstances at the particular moment, and depends, perhaps, on the extent of the value of the bequest. We will try to deal with it as leniently as we possibly can.
From the Minister's statement, there could arise a position in which an injustice would be done to a person, who would come into property by will or by those people who might have invested their money in response to the request made to them, by not being in a position to make available the assets that might be very urgent to them at the time.
I think the Senator may disregard it as a practical possibility. I was only being extra cautious.
I should like to have some explanation from the Minister with regard to Section 9, which reads:
"Except with the permission of the Minister, a person shall not transfer—
(a) any security, annuity or policy of assurance or any right or interest in a security, annuity or policy of assurance, to a person who is resident outside the scheduled territories or who is a nominee of a person so resident."
I think that would require some clarification.
Can the Senator explain in a little more detail exactly what his difficulty is? Is it in respect of the provision as regards policies of assurance?
The Senator can understand that policies of insurance are saleable assets, and that one could, for example, have a policy of insurance on the life of John Murphy, taken out by John Murphy here. John Murphy could sell that policy of insurance to Patrick White, who would be entitled to export the policy, if it were not for this provision, and he could, in that way, get around the ordinary prohibitions in exchange control. It is not intended that it should cover, for example, the case of a person who has a policy of insurance here, and then emigrates to America—if this is the type of case that the Senator has in mind. A policy of insurance is saleable, and if you do not get in some control on it, you would be in exactly the same position as regards bearer's securities.
It is purely a question of financial control.
Must a person get permission under this Bill to bring it with him?
We always allow them to take it under the existing circumstances.
Is the question of assignment of an insurance policy affected by this section? Is it possible for a person here in this country to assign a policy of assurance to somebody living outside the jurisdiction, without getting permission from the Minister?
I am afraid not. If you permitted the free assignment of an insurance policy to a person outside the scheduled territories it would be exactly the same as permitting the free transfer of gold bullion, or the free transfer of bearers' securities. The idea of this control is purely to prevent the type of assignment that we more or less equate to smuggling, as we understand it, in regard to goods.
Can the Minister say that for goods imported from areas outside the scheduled areas, that Form E would still have to be filled up by importers?
This section does not deal with goods at all.
I wonder if the Minister could give an answer to the question which I raised on Section 13 about importers who import goods from outside the scheduled area?
I understood that the Senator was speaking about exports.
No, I was speaking about goods imported from outside the scheduled areas and the filling in of forms.
The existing regulations are being continued. I might inform the Senator, in order to show that we are anxious to avoid the necessity for the completion of forms, that recently there has been some easement in visitors' travelling allowances. In fact, we abolished the necessity for the completion of forms before the same abolition took place on the other side of the water. I think the Senator may take that as evidence of our liberal outlook.
On the Second Reading I raised the question of restrictions. I understood from the Minister that no restriction would be placed on exports to areas outside the scheduled areas, and I presume his answer still stands good. Am I to take it that where the Government are satisfied that goods can be exported to those areas nothing will be put in the way of exporters from exporting goods to such areas?
I might point out to the Senator that Section 16 refers to the export of gold, so that I am afraid I cannot give him an undertaking in that regard.