asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that Japanese printed cloths, samples of which have been submitted to him by the hon. Member for Withington, are being freely offered for sale in British West Africa at lower prices than those obtaining there for the staple printed cloths exported from Manchester; and what steps he proposes to take to deal with this situation.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I hold in my hand samples of the actual goods sent into British West Africa and that they are such as no reputable Lancashire firm would produce, they are so shoddy? Will he not take steps to prevent this importation before the invasion of the Japanese begins?
The matter of Japanese competition in its short-term and long-term aspects is under close review. I can only say further that if the quality of the goods does not rise above the kind of thing to which the hon. and learned Member has referred there is not much danger in the invasion.
With the hon. Member's permission, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of those sections of the textile and clothing industries whose prices are still controlled by the method generally known as cost-plus.
1. The prices of pram rugs and of the following items of utility clothing (other than knitted goods) are still controlled by cost plus in conjunction with ceiling prices:
If unfair competition from Japanese textiles were to develop in overseas markets, I would consider what steps were appropriate, but I do not accept the suggestion that the new Japanese trade arrangements will necessarily result in such competition.
As my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Withington (Squadron-Leader Fleming) has already shown the nature of this Japanese competition even before the conclusion of this agreement, may I ask whether we can place any reliance upon the Minister's bland assurances?
Will my right hon. Friend keep in touch with the Yorkshire textile industry, especially the woollen and worsted sections, in view of the recent Press statement made by the Bradford manufacturers that they have received pieces and patterns from overseas markets which support the case put by the hon. and gallant Member for Withington (Squadron-Leader Fleming)?