74 MINUTES OF EVIDENCE TAKEN BEFORE
5 March 1980] Mr R W Gray, cb, Mr S Abramson, cmg [Continued
Mr R J Meadway, Mr J W Preston and Mr I H Lightman
Examination of witnesses Mr R W Gray, cb, Deputy Secretary, Mr S Abramson, cmg, Under Secretary, ComÂ¬ mercial Relations and Exports Division 1, Mr R J Meadway, Assistant Secretary, CRE1, Mr J W Preston, Assistant Secretary, General Division, Department of Trade and Mr I.
Lightman, Under Secretary, Industrial and Commercial Policy Division, Department of Industry, called in and examined.
May I welcome you to this public sitting of the Select Committee on Trade and Industry.
We are indebted to you for the supply to us of quite a large number of papers dealing with the matters we are seeking to ask questions upon this morning and I think it would be easier if I told you that the Committee have decided upon a batting order for the papers as follows: first, to deal with M26, GATT and the Multilateral Trade Negotiations, then M23, The Brussels Dimension, then M21, Export Subsidies and Assistance, then M22, Quantitative Import Restraints, next M24, Unfair Competition from Disruptive ImÂ¬ ports within the Community and lastly, M25, Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Action.
As often happens in any innings we may alter the order of going in, whether we will get to the order of coming out I am never quite sure, but we will start off in that order.
As you know, broadly we want to get the background on a lot of factual matters which relate to the possibility of greater exports from this country and fewer imports into this country.
Dealing with M26, dealing with GATT â€” there are other papers that relate to it, but primarily M26 â€” could you describe to us the United Kingdom particiÂ¬ pation in GATT, the UK representation at GATT headquarters and the official arrangements at 1, Victoria Street to monitor the implementation of GATT codes ?
Our representation in GATT, as a consequence of our memberÂ¬ ship of the European Community, is of course normally carried out by the European Commission.
We do in GATT speak on the budget matters because it so happens that the UK still pays its conÂ¬ tribution to the GATT budget, but on all najor commercial policy points it is the Commission who represent the United Lingdom and the other eight members of re Community.
That of course does not lean to say that the Commission just says /hat it thinks; there is an elaborate irrangement, described up to a point in the
paper on the Brussels Dimension, not only for full consultation with Member States on a regular basis, but on almost every occaÂ¬ sion when there is a GATT meeting in Geneva there is also a Community coÂ¬ ordinating meeting held before that meetÂ¬ ing.
That is the first procedural point.
I am sorry, I missed your second question?
What arrangements have you at your headquarters to monitor the impleÂ¬ mentation of GATT codes ?
We have principally ComÂ¬ mercial Relations and Exports Division 1, which is headed by Mr Abramson on my right and also a General Division represenÂ¬ ted partly by Mr Preston here.
The CRE 1 Division is the division mainly responsible for monitoring the GATT codes and provides a good deal of our representation in Brussels and Geneva for purposes of GATT meetings.
In fact the CRE 1 Division has traditionally, over a long period of time, been intimately involved in GATT.
It does include a number of members of the staff who have a special knowledge of this area because GATT is not just one document but a whole series of codes, a whole series of background, interpretative notes and procedures and is almost a subject on its own; a specialist study in many ways.
Paragraph 4 of your memorandum stresses the importance of the application of the Subsidies and the Countervailing Duties Agreement to the USA.
How rapidly do you expect this to become effective and what will be its impact on UK industries ?
The United States has implemented the subsidies and counterÂ¬ vailing duties code.
There is a lot of subÂ¬ stantial work to be done there and the main point that we are all waiting to see is how in practice the United States authorities and United States industry will use that code.
1 think it would be unrealistic to think we shall have a very clear idea about that over the next 2 or 3 weeks.
I think it will take