Seanad Éireann - Volume 87 - 23 November, 1977

Control of Exports (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1956 (Continuance) Bill, 1977: Second Stage and Subsequent Stages.

Question proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Energy (Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn): The Control of Exports (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1956, which was enacted originally for a period of three years and has since been renewed in normal course, at the end of each three-year period, will expire on 31st December, 1977.

The purpose of this Bill is to continue the 1956 Act in force for a five-year period, that is, until 31st December, 1982 and to provide that the penalty prescribed in section 3 (4) of the Act in respect of the offence of making a false or misleading statement or representation to the Minister for the purpose of obtaining an export licence, shall be increased from £100 to £500.

[355] The Act empowers the Minister to prohibit by order, the export of industrial goods save under a licence issued by him. Such orders have a life of 12 months only and may be annulled at any time during this period by resolution of either House of the Oireachtas. Control is at present in force on a range of goods under the Control of Exports Order, 1977, and the Control of Exports (Southern Rhodesia) Order, 1977.

Goods the export of which is controlled for reasons of supply are listed in Parts I and II of the Schedule to the Control of Exports Order, 1977. Those controlled for strategic reasons are shown in Part III of that Schedule.

As a member state of the European Economic Community, Ireland is obliged to comply with the requirements of Community law relating to the export to third countries of ferrous and non-ferrous wastes and scraps. The supplies of iron and steel scrap and of waste and scrap of aluminium and lead arising in this country are essential to the needs of home users. It is in our interest, therefore, to apply in this country the restriction imposed by the Community on the shipment of these scrap materials to third countries. The home supply of copper and copper alloy waste and scrap is not fully utilised by home processors. Accordingly, Ireland obtains each year a share of the export quota appointed for these scraps by the Community permitting limited quantities to be exported to third countries.

Export control on goods classified as “strategic” is not operated at Community level. Each member state of the European Economic Community and eight other countries control the export of such goods under national legislation and the proposed Bill enables this country to continue to do likewise. Ireland's participation in the international strategic export control arrangements derives essentially from this country's need to import supplies of certain high technology industrial materials and components required by the more sophisticated industries established here in recent years and which [356] cater mainly for export markets. Since the movement of these goods to Ireland is controlled, in most cases, by precisely those countries which participate in the strategic control arrangements, it is considered essential that the Minister should continue to control the export of goods of a strategic character in order to ensure:

(1) continued access for Irish firms to the strategic goods referred to; and

(2) that employment will be fully maintained in the plants where they are utilised and in any similar plants that may be established here in the future.

Ireland's membership of the United Nations Organisation carries a commitment to apply here mandatory resolutions of the UN Security Council imposing restrictions on the export of goods to Southern Rhodesia and of arms and military supplies to South Africa.

For the following reasons, therefore, I consider it necessary for the Minister to have continuing powers to maintain the existing export controls and to enact the appropriate legislation for the purpose:

(a) to comply with our obligations under Community law as expressed in EEC Regulation No. 2603/69 to restrict, for the benefit of Irish and other Community processors, shipment of scrap metals to third countries and to ensure conditions of comparative price stability for these scraps in the home and Community markets.

(b) to ensure that strategic materials, for example, arms, ammunition, military and naval stores, certain military aircraft, computers, and so on, are not exported from or through this country to undesirable destinations abroad in accordance with the requirements of the international export control to which Ireland subscribes.

(c) to enable the Government to realise a general foreign policy aim of preventing the export of strategic or potentially strategic goods to areas where they could contribute [357] to an increase in international tension or provide support for the apartheid policies of the Government of South Africa or other similar repressive regimes.

(d) to comply with the mandatory resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council requiring member states to prevent the exportation of goods to Southern Rhodesia, and of arms and military supplies to South Africa.

(e) to have immediately available a means of dealing quickly with any emergency which might denude the country of essential materials before corrective legislation could be enacted.

When the 1956 Act was last renewed in 1974, its validity was extended for a period of three years and nine months terminating on 31st December, 1977. Since the commitments mentioned will continue for the foreseeable future, it is considered that the Act should be extended on this occasion for a period of five years. This would not alter an essential feature of the 1956 Act, that is that the need for the powers which it confers should be reviewed by the Oireachtas from time to time.

Orders made by the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Energy under the Act provide that goods, the export of which is so controlled, may not be exported except under the authority of a licence granted by the Minister. Section 3 (4) of the Act states:

Every person who, for the purpose of obtaining for himself or any other person a licence, makes any statement or representation which is to his knowledge false or misleading in any material respect shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds.

It is considered that £100 is not now an adequate penalty for offences of this kind, having regard to the fall in the value of money since 1956 and because a more effective deterrent is needed to discourage misrepresentation [358] particularly in the realm of strategic goods where money values are often substantial. In these circumstances, a fine not exceeding £500 for the offence described at section 3 (4) of the Act is not considered an excessive penalty and section 2 of the Bill provides for such a penalty.

For the reasons mentioned I commend this Bill to the favourable consideration of Seanad Éireann.

Mr. Cooney: I will not detain the House by repeating the reasons advanced by the Parliamentary Secretary for the continuance of this Bill in operation, reasons which we accept. I should like to make a couple of casual comments. With regard to the level of penalty being raised from £100 to £500, while it is a substantial increase, I wonder is it really any sanction or deterrent to people who might be tempted to engage in the illegal export of prohibited goods. I doubt if it would be because, having regard to the possible volume of goods, £500 might be only a trifle to them.

I read, with some puzzlement and amusement, Part IV of the order which the Parliamentary Secretary circulated with her speech, containing a list of articles excepted from the articles prohibited in Parts I, II and III. I wondered how a comprehensive list of exceptions could be drawn up. Great effort has been made to draw up a comprehensive list of exceptions when I see it goes so far as to specify that powder puffs may be exported without a licence. I am sure there is an excellent bureaucratic reason for doing it in this way, but it seems to me to be manifestly impossible to draw up a list of exceptions which would be exdusive and complete. That is the only comment I have to make. We recognise the need for the continuance of the control.

Ruairí Brugha: This Act has been in existence since 1956. In effect, it speaks for itself. We are being asked merely to confirm the continuation of the measure with one notable change, that is, the increase of the amount of penalty, to which Senator Cooney has referred, from £100 to £500. If one were to take the effect of inflation [359] over the past four years, the increase would be justifiable, not to mention going back to 1956. If a fine is to be a serious deterrent — the real difference between £100 20 years ago and £500——

Mr. Cooney: Does the Senator expect to find it reduced at the end of the next four years?

Ruairí Brugha: ——it should be at least double what the Parliamentary Secretary is proposing. There is no need to argue the justification for the necessity to be able to control exports of different materials from time to time. The purpose is that the Executive should have the power from time to time to prohibit the export of any additional materials it might be felt ought to be retained here for our own use, for our own community. In addition, as the Parliamentary Secretary said, it is necessary to have an enactment of this kind in existence to enable the Government to fulfil any regulations the European Community might require us as a member state to fulfil in regard to the export of any materials, scrap metals, and so on.

The other significant item mentioned was the range of items coming under the description of strategic materials, armaments, military aircraft, and other such items. We are not, of course, in this league. Except for one recent item we are not manufacturing anything of that nature for export. However, I am sure Members of the House will appreciate that it could be quite possible to export articles which were imported. In other words, it is possible that the State could be used as a means for reexporting materials coming under the heading of strategic materials and, thereby contravening first our own good intentions in regard to different areas in the world and, secondly, regulations we would be expected to consider as a member of the European Community.

Another aspect which is also relevant is the need to be in a position to comply with any special resolutions passed by the Security Council of the United Nations such as has been done in the case of Rhodesia in order to prevent [360] the export of goods to that area. Such circumstances could arise in other cases where it might suit us to comply with resolutions passed by the Security Council.

There is another reason which justifies the retention and continuation of a measure of this kind, that is, so that the Government of the day can be in a position, in the event of an emergency developing, to prohibit the export of goods of any kind which might be essential to our survival during such an emergency. There is no need to belabour the necessity for a measure of this kind from the point of view of our own survival as a community, and from the point of view of fulfilling our international commitments. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to give us an idea what is the range of goods at present prohibited by ministerial order under this legislation. I have only a vague idea what it is. It may cover a wide range but I suspect it is not very wide.

Mr. Crowley: I, too, welcome this Bill and I can very well see the necessity for the introduction of a Bill of this type. Nevertheless, in this era of economic expansion and the creation of new jobs and, in particular, providing jobs for our young, we have to be very careful that Bills such as this do not inhibit in any way the progress and advancement of our industrial arm.

I should like to refer especially to the statement made in the Dáil by Deputy Barry Desmond. He objected to the fact that the Timoney armoured personnel carriers were coming up for export. In his opinion they should also come under an order such as this. Of course, we must recognise that these carriers are specifically for peaceful purposes and in no way can it be construed that they are for anything other than peaceful purposes.

We must ask our Parliamentary Secretary and, indeed, our Minister and the civil servants of those Departments, to ensure that our industrialists are not inhibited or impeded in any way by a Bill such as this. We all welcome the development of the Timoney armoured personnel carrier and we hope it will be a tremendous source of revenue, [361] and badly needed for foreign revenue at that, and that on the home front it will create more and more employment in what could I suppose be described as heavy industry. In the future, and please God in the near future, it will give a great impetus wherever it is established.

We must be careful about how we administer this Bill. I am rather amused at our selectivity in whom we export to and whom we do not export to. I see Rhodesia is one of those countries to which the export of all goods is banned. I see the reason for that, and there is a very strong and good reason for it. However, I wonder are there not other countries as well who could very well come into this category? Would not the Russians, for instance, have committed exactly the same atrocities as have been committed in Rhodesia?

Mrs. Robinson: Is the Deputy against trade with Russia?

Mr. Crowley: Is the Senator for trading with them? I am entitled to my opinion about them. I notice the Senator is appropriately dressed today to support the Russians. However, we all know Senator Robinson's idealistic beliefs and her undoubted support for them. I am sure she does not agree with me — or maybe she does — about the rape of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The crimes committed in Rhodesia are no greater than the crimes committed by the Warsaw Pact countries. I would urge this House to consider carefully our future trading position with the Eastern bloc. After all, if we accept that we should not trade with Rhodesia or South Africa — and I fully endorse that point of view — we must also consider very carefully, now that we have a nonCommunist Minister for Industry, Commerce and Energy——

Mr. Cooney: A Chathaoirleach!

An Cathaoirleach: I do not want any references such as that.

Mr. Cooney: It was not a reference. It was a smear. The Senator knows damn well what I am talking about.

[362] Mr. Crowley: Are we to say that we cannot make reference to anybody's political beliefs in this House? I am sure Senator Cooney knows the answer to that.

Mr. Cooney: We will have to refer to a fair few parties and a fair few ideologies.

Mr. Crowley: Senator Cooney should be the very last to talk about political beliefs because at least in this party we do not have the jackboot as Senator Cooney had. Senator Cooney will be quiet for a while. I do not want to deviate from what I am saying——

(Interruptions.)

An Cathaoirleach: Senators should confine themselves to the matter under discussion.

Mr. Crowley: That is what I am trying to do but I am finding it very difficult to continue in view of the interruptions from Senator Cooney and I hope that you will do your best to control him. I think it is important that we have our priorities right and that we do not make fish of one and flesh of another and that when we are furthering the export of goods, for very good reasons, to certain designated countries we should also, on the other hand, examine the credentials of some of the countries that we are exporting to. I think the Bill that we have before us is technical from the point of view that we have to pass an addendum to it with all the goods that are exempted. I wonder is there any simpler or easier way of presenting to the people who will be involved in the export of goods such as we envisage in the Bill by which they could interpret what they could export and what they could not because to me it is complicated and very technical and I can imagine that it can cause some exporters a good deal of trouble and concern trying to unravel the position in relation to their exports. I see the problem of samples, for instance, but what are the procedures necessary to bring in samples and to re-export them? What kind of a licence system is needed and how long does it take before one can get a licence [363] for the sending abroad of samples? I think these are important questions in relation to the efficiency of our industries because if exporters find that they are going to be stultified in their approach to open up new markets then very often they can discard the whole idea, resulting in loss of exports.

It is my opinion generally that we should have a far more reasonable, understandable list of what can be done and what cannot be done because in this era of the instant communication system very often samples are asked for by return of post and if some of our manufacturers cannot comply with this request they may be losing business to other countries. I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to ensure that in no way are there any brakes put on our export drive and that all possible co-operation is given to those industries that may apply for a licence under the various headings in this Bill. It is a good opportunity, also, when we are talking about exports to show that we are in a developing country, that we have become a very sophisticated industrial country and that our standards and requirements are up to the highest in the EEC regulations. We can prove that in the most positive possible way by dealing with all our orders and all requests for samples in the most expeditious manner possible.

Without going any further into the matter I welcome the Bill but I would like to have certain assurances in relation to the implementation of the contents of the Bill.

Mr. Harte: It is rather an extraordinary turn of events. There did not seem to be anybody offering on this side and therefore Senator Crowley got the benefit of getting in. The reason why there was nobody offering from the Labour Party side was that we wanted to facilitate the business and we had confidence in what the Parliamentary Secretary was bringing in. It is a little extraordinary to see Senator Crowley taking issue, to some extent, with his own Parliamentary Secretary and at the same time introducing a note that could lead to disharmony when we are trying to facilitate Bills being put through. I am sorry that it [364] happened, it is sad. If there is somebody about whom you want to make a remark I think you should wait until he is present to make that remark so that he can defend himself. The other thing I want to say is that there are no objections whatever to this Bill. We are delighted to see it. We wish the Government every success with it.

Mícheál Cranitch: Leanann an Bille seo Acht 1956 agus Acht 1974. Tugann na hAchta sin cumhacht don Aire maidir le h-onnmhuiriú earraí atá riachtanach i gcóir tionscail na tíre seo agus is ceart agus is cóir go mbeadh a leithéid de chumhacht ag an Aire. Deireann Acht 1956 dhá rud anseo go soiléir:

The Minister may, whenever and so often as he thinks fit, by order prohibit, subject to such exceptions, if any, as he may think proper, the exportation of goods of any specified description, save under and in accordance with a licence.

Agus, uimhir a 2 —

The Minister may, after consultation with the Minister for External Affairs, by order prohibit, subject to certain exceptions, if any, as he may think proper the exportation of goods of any specified description to a specified destination, save under and in accordance with a licence.

Tá sé thar a bheith tábhachtach go mbeadh an dá chumhacht sin ag an Aire maidir le na hearraí féin ar an gcéad dul síos agus ansan ba cheart go mbeadh sé de chumhacht aige tíortha áirithe a ainmniú nár cheart na hearraí sin a onnmhuiriú chuca. I am sure everybody in the House is anxious that the powers of this Act, that will expire on the 31st of next month should be continued, and it is only proper especially, in present circumstances that the Minister would continue to have those powers.

I commend very highly the excellent speech made by the Parliamentary Secretary here to day and I note in particular her reference to the fact that the supplies of iron and steel scrap and of waste and scrap aluminium and lead arising in this country are essential to the needs of home users. This has been a hobby [365] horse of mine for a long time—the amount of waste that takes place in this country. We waste food, quite a lot of the time, possibly a fair amount of energy, with the various meanings that energy has, and, let me expressly say, we waste useful materials. The time has come when we will have to take this matter of waste very seriously and make sure that in every possible instance anything regarded as waste will be recycled so as to produce something that will be of benefit to our manufacturing industries. I am glad that this Bill has come before us and as everybody is anxious to give it a speedy passage through the House. I am happy to commend it.

Mr. Markey: It is the wish of this side of the House to facilitate the passage of the Bill. One can say that it is a sad reflection on the current of events in the world over the past 21 years that while the original Act indicated that the Bill then going through the Houses of the Oireachtas would expire at the end of three years, it has been found necessary on a number of occasions to extend the validity of the 1956 Act. I note that the period of extension has increased this time from three-and-a-half years to five years, bringing us up to the end of 1982. It appears that this legislation is almost becoming permanent. It is necessary and desirable from this country's point of view, now that we are part of a broader sphere, that we should coordinate with the EEC Communities and other countries in western democracies to safeguard exports and to ensure that nothing is exported, particularly to third countries, which can prove injurious to peace in these parts of the world.

The increase of the fine from £100 to £500 would appear to be adequate but I wonder if, in four years' time in 1981-82 when this extension will expire, £500 will not seem inadequate at that time as a deterrent. I certainly would not baulk at the fine being increased to something in the region of £1,000. As I said, we have no wish to hesitate in passing this Bill; we think it is necessary legislation.

[366] Mr. Jago: I think we all welcome this Bill. The continuance of the control already there is still necessary. It appears to govern or control two things, the export of scrap metal and the export of strategic material. Naturally, coming from the Cork area I am very concerned about the export of scrap metal and to make sure of the continuance of Irish Steel. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary would be able to tell us if, during the period of strike, any licences were granted for the export of scrap.

On the point of the export of strategic materials or goods the most popular one at the moment is our troop carrier which may be exported and I presume that the Minister will not bring in an order to control its export to every country on an overall basis. As Senator Crowley said, we are interested in exports and I think we can congratulate ourselves that we have something now which is worthy of export.

It appears that the main control is by ministerial order and that, therefore, it is dependent on the Minister as to what is controlled and under licence. Perhaps I could ask the Parliamentary Secretary does the order come before the Houses of the Oireachtas before it is finally made?

Mr. Lanigan: There are just a few comments which I would like to make on the Bill. It is a Bill that we all welcome. One of the comments I would like to make is that it appears that little use is made of copper which has been recycled here and some of which is exported by licence. This would appear to be an area into which the IDA and the Department could look possibly with a view to establishing an industry based on the use of this copper material which is at present being exported. There are very few people in the country who can use recycled materials. Irish Steel has been mentioned. In particular, when Irish Steel were on strike there was a build-up of scrap materials all over the country. If you walked down the docks in Dublin, the stuff was piled up and there did not seem to be any outlet other than Irish Steel. There could be an investigation into means whereby this material [367] could be used by people other than Irish Steel.

Of some concern to me is that amongst the items not controlled are antiques. It is essential that we should have some control over the export of antiques. Antiques form a major form of our heritage. To many people antiques are things which are very expensive and bear very little relationship to the normal like of the people. Arte-facts, whether they be farm implements or items which were used in houses 100 years ago, are being exported without control. These things are going to America in alarming numbers. If we are not careful we will not have a 100-year old plough in the country. We will not have a 100-year old scythe. That is due to the proliferation of people with titles, working for Sothebys and such concerns coming here from England and overseas and exporting the best of our heritage from all over the country. There should be some control over this area.

Going down thorugh the items which are exempted, there is an item in the second statement in Part IV, accessories and requisitions including gaming machines, which are not controlled. The control here should be that every gaming machine made in this country should be exported. If we allow gaming machines to be made in this country we should control them in the sense that every one of them should be exported, because they are causing havoc. They are in every place of amusement. They are geared towards the owner; they are geared to make money. There is no way in which anyone can win on these gaming machines. They have to be legalised in some US states such as Nevada. They are not allowed in some states, but there seems to be no control of them here. I suggest that they should be exported in total rather than that there should be an order made that they may be exported. I suggest they should not be imported. Those are just a couple of comments that I have to make on the Bill. I welcome the Bill and I hope it gets through in a speedy manner.

Professor Conroy: There are just a [368] few brief points I would like to make. Any Bill that concerns itself with exports must be of tremendous importance and particularly of importance to this country. As an island nation we are very dependent upon exports. I am delighted that our colleagues on the opposite side of the House are accepting this Bill. Nonetheless, it is important that we look at a few of the principles which are involved in this.

It is necessary that we have control over exports, particularly exports of strategic goods. Nonetheless, one is just a little concerned about anything which might interfere with trade. By and large we have much more to gain probably from free trading with countries than any limitation of trade. There are other aspects, particularly in regard to strategic goods. There is a necessity in this country that we have control over our supplies and ensure as the Parliamentary Secretary has indicated that we could quickly and readily impose such control in an emergency. We had the experience of the last world war when for a time we found ourselves in a very desperate situation, and in any similar circumstances today we would probably be in a far more critical situation. Then, thanks to the magnificent work of Seán Lemass and, indeed, to the public generally, we were able to weather what was a very difficult storm. We are in many ways far more dependent today on strategic imports, so much so that I wonder if in certain ways we should not have in the case of certain very key substances at least some possibility or some consideration of strategic stock-piling. It is highly expensive, but suppose there were an emergency, how much support would we get elsewhere? All the other countries would naturally be looking to their own interests. This is something which we really should consider for ourselves.

Let us be realistic about this: in any future conflict it is very evident that control of the seas is unlikely to be really under the aegis of the countries which are our neighbours. More likely, there would be far greater interference with the free flow of goods than even in the second World War. So, it is important that we have this sort of [369] power to use in the sort of emergency which we all hope and pray will never occur but it is far better to be prepared for it than “ad hoc-ing” if the time should ever come.

The Bill also incorporates certain very important policies or alludes to them. These are in relation to the EEC. We have taken on in our membership of the Community a number of very onerous responsibilities and some of these are incorporated in this Bill. There is one curious omission I must say, not from the Bill itself but from the EEC in that, as it is stated here, there is no specific list of strategic goods on an EEC basis. I wonder if this is not something which our representatives at the EEC should not suggest, that there be an agreed list of strategic goods. It is not much good passing resolutions that strategic goods be not exported and then not agreeing in fact on what are strategic and what are not strategic goods. There is rather a gap here in EEC policy. Very major and totally disparate from the EEC are the United Nations obligations. I, personally, have great reservations about embargoes on any country. This does not mean that one does anything other than condemn totally the lack of human rights in Southern Rhodesia and in South Africa. It is so easy to get carried away by the particular bête noire of the moment and to condemn some particular country because it is communist or because it does this or because it does that. We must be very careful about these sort of embargoes. I also think, particularly as regards Southern Rhodesia and Southern Africa generally, that we have a role to play other than just tagging along behind resolutions of the EEC or the United Nations. We have clean hands in Africa. Any of our dealings in Africa have been on the basis of friendship and co-operation with the people of Africa. Let us not forget too, the fact that we have clean hands also as regards the people who are now in control of white South Africa, the Boers. They had their own anti-colonial struggle too and rather than outright condemnation of these people I think we, without a colonial record, with a record of struggling for our own [370] independence should, I think, be able to take a positive attitude in bringing peace to South Africa, to that very troubled part of the world. We can do so in good faith which is more, I think, than most of the countries that are meddling in Southern Africa for one reason or another, can say.

I note that over and beyond that we are suggesting that our control will be part of our general foreign policy aim as regards any repressive regime. Again, I suggest we should be very careful before leaping into condemnation or joining in embargoes but I am glad to see that we have the power if or when we decide that it is necessary.

There are a few other points which Senator Lanigan raised on the specific use of our supplies of copper and copper alloys and I notice also that we have a certain given share of the export quota here. I just wonder how large that share is. I would like to join in welcoming this very necessary and very important Bill.

Mr. Mulcahy: I welcome this Bill and the opportunity to speak on it. As I see it, we are dealing with the role of Government under a number of headings in regard to the control of products which are seen to be strategic, the control of products at times of emergency, our role in going along with international agreements to which we are in some way allied by our international commitments in the United Nations or the EEC and the other role, and the one with which I want to deal more specifically is our role in terms of competitiveness and reputation. As far as the strategic aspect is concerned. I am interpreting it that products which seem to be strategic are outside the EEC listing and therefore it is convenient for us to be able to have the freedom to operate within that category of strategic products so that we can put controls on if we have to, where we might come under pressure in relation to products, let us say, that some of the new multi-nationals are producing with unusual kinds of raw materials or semi-processed materials. The emergency role should be fairly obvious and hardly needs elaboration. The international agreements role has [371] been covered by other speakers: I do not need to add to it other than to say that once we enter into arrangements with bodies like the United Nations I suppose we have to go along with them.

The other area, of course, on the international side, lies in the regulations which are being introduced periodically by the EEC, seeing that we keep a weather eye open there, that we do not find ourselves being spancelled in an area where we have advantage. On the competitiveness aspect, which is the area of this Bill in which I would have most interest, I have been advocating for some years through articles in journals or otherwise, going back to 1964, that this country should take a more positive role in relation to the function in management that we call quality control. I think the best way to illustrate my viewpoint on this is to mention the case of Japan. Those Senators who are in or around my age, and others by reputation, will know it and the older Members, of course, will remember that Japan at a particular time had a reputation for copying products and for producing products which were not really seen as quality goods. After the World War the Japanese Government took the step of having a crash programme for the training of engineers and scientists, particularly those involved in manufacturing in Japan, in methods of quality control. By a programme, I mean that 15,000 scientists and engineers were induced to go through a training programme carried out by leading American experts. As a result the quality of Japanese goods increased to the point where now we do not associate them with being low quality goods. They are way ahead of the competition in many product areas, such as optics, electronics, shipping, steel and so on.

The main teeth that went with this policy was that the Government passed legislation which ruled that no products carrying the Japanese sign should be exported from Japan without having been tested by approved test laboratories. In making this point I am not trying to introduce restrictions on [372] our export drive. As Senators will have heard me saying before, it is the 15,000 new jobs that must be created in manufacturing each year that are my prime interest. It is essential that we export high quality products of which we can be proud, which will not let us down in market places and will maintain our competitiveness. This Bill does not cover that area but I commend this idea to the Parliamentary Secretary. As far as the penalty of £500 is concerned, I would go along with it. If the Parliamentary Secretary comes before us again to introduce quality control legislation, I hope that the punishment will fit the crime. I commend the Bill.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Energy (Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn): I thank the many Senators who took part in the Second Stage debate for their remarks and for assisting me to get the Bill through as quickly as possible. It is an urgent Bill. It must be passed and become law before 31st December this year. Senator Cooney and Senator Markey referred to the increase in the penalty which we are revising under this Bill. There is no record of any prosecutions having been made under the Act and, therefore, we feel that it is not necessary to have a stiffer penalty. We have been advised by the Attorney General's office that a penalty of £500 is the maximum penalty on a summary conviction in the District Court at the moment. However, the matter of an increase from £500 can be considered when this Bill comes before the House again in five years' time.

Senator Brugha spoke about the list of controlled exports, the strategic goods which are manufactured here. The Senator obviously was not here when my speech was circulated with the attached list. The list is as follows: computers, memory stacks and systems, telecommunications equipment, process control systems, semiconductors, military vehicles and dynamite. A copy of the Control of Exports Order was also circulated with the speech and we can arrange to get a copy of that to Senator Brugha.

Senator Crowley spoke about the [373] problems with Rhodesia, South Africa and Russia. All exports to Rhodesia are prohibited under a United Nations resolution which is mandatory on this country. Exports of arms and military supplies to South Africa are prohibited also by a United Nations resolution which is mandatory on us. Senator Robinson took issue with Senator Crowley over his remarks about trade with Russia. All of us are entitled to our own opinion. However, it is a fact that the Minister has been complaining that communist countries are not taking enough of our exports. There is a severe imbalance against us in our trade. The Minister has expressed his anxiety to have this imbalance be corrected.

In speaking of ordinary exports, Senator Crowley asked whether it was intended to put brakes on ordinary industrialists throughout the country. There is no intention whatever of doing that. The only controlled exports are the ones which came under this Bill. Senator Jago joined Senator Crowley on the problem of the Timoney carrier and the exports of this to other countries. Only two prototypes of the Timoney carrier have been exported. This was done on the authority of a Cabinet decision. There is a principle embedded in Community law that exports shall be free except for the limited range of goods which are specified under regulation 260369 which I referred to in my opening remarks. Naturally my Department would be advised at all times by the Department of Foreign Affairs regarding undesirable destinations where strategic goods would be shipped.

Senator Crowley also spoke about the problem of samples. There are standard customs procedures for importing samples of consumer goods, even machinery. Samples would not be controlled under this Bill unless they were samples of strategic goods, for example, a single computer or typical samples of scrap materials which are subject to control. The Senator made a suggestion that the list of goods subject to export control might be simplified or shortened. Parts I, II and III have already been pared down to quite short lists. The other part deals [374] with a highly technical range of goods and it could not be expressed in simpler terms.

Senator Cranitch referred to waste metals. The Community considers that 75 to 80 per cent of waste metals arising here and in other countries is wasted by being thrown out in rubbish dumps. They have recently appointed a Waste and Scrap Committee to look into this whole area and into recovery techniques which may be used with a view to preserving essential materials which are needed for energy.

Part IV is a long list of exceptions. This was referred to by Senator Cooney when he said that perhaps it was ridiculous. The customs service found in practice that these exceptions were necessary for proper administration. It is necessary for them to have such a list so that they do not have to hold up certain goods for export licence.

Senator Jago inquired whether the order controlling exports comes before the Oireachtas for approval. It does not, but the order, when made, can be annulled by either House of the Oireachtas. He also mentioned the recent strike at Haulbowline steel mills and asked whether licences permitting the export of steel scrap were granted. No licences were granted during the strike except for stainless steel scrap and scrap derived from the breaking up of ships. Stainless steel scrap cannot be used by the Cork steel men. There is a Community law which requires that ship breaking scrap must be allowed free export.

Senator Lanigan referred to whether or not antiques should be included under the Bill. He mentioned antiques which I would consider to be archaeological objects. Such archaeological objects, documents, paintings and so on can be controlled by the Minister for Education under existing legislation operated by his Department. Senator Lanigan and Senator Conroy referred to the copper scrap and copper alloy. Due to adverse conditions in the copper scrap market here the processing of copper has largely ceased. That is why we are asking for a share of the Community quota, which is appointed for export to third [375] countries each year. Senator Conroy asked what our share of the quota was. The share of the present quota is 337 metric tonnes.

The EEC does not exercise control over strategic goods. The strategic control derives from our need to adhere to NATO regulations on strategic controls in the interests of certain Irish manufacturers who have to import components on the strategics list.

Quality control, which was mentioned by Senator Mulcahy, is a matter which is under considerable discussion within the Department. At present the situation is that the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards formulate standards for certain home-produced products which, of course, would apply to exports as well as to goods sold on the home market. The whole subject of quality control is, as I have said, being discussed and if we feel legislation is necessary, and obviously Senator Mulcahy feels that there is a need for such legislation, the Government will not be found wanting in introducing it.

I again thank all those who took part in the debate and who assisted in getting this Stage of it through as quickly as possible. I hope, if possible, to get through all Stages this evening.

Question put and agreed to.

Agreed to take remaining Stages today.

Bill put through Committee, reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.