Gloves (Imports from Hong Kong)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th April 1954.

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Photo of Mr Barnett Janner Mr Barnett Janner , Leicester North West 12:00 am, 8th April 1954

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that many of the gloves imported into this country from Hong Kong have previously been imported into Hong Kong, where their trade marks have been removed and some embroidery added after which new labels marked made in Hong Kong have been added; and if he will take steps to prevent such goods from flooding the market here to the detriment of English manufacturers.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

I have received no evidence to support the allegations to which the hon. Member refers. If he will provide me with details of any specific case I shall gladly investigate it.

Photo of Mr Barnett Janner Mr Barnett Janner , Leicester North West

Has the Minister made any inquiries in this matter? Does he not know that the quantity of knitted gloves now being sent out of Hong Kong is in excess of any that can be fully manufactured there? How does he account for the fact that gloves of this nature are coming in marked "Made in Hong Kong," when many of them are undoubtedly made outside Hong Kong?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

I have made very close inquiries and am informed that knitted woollen gloves made in Japan and merely embellished or embroidered in Hong Kong would not enjoy Imperial Preference.

Photo of Mr Barnett Janner Mr Barnett Janner , Leicester North West

Will the Minister make further inquiries, and, if he finds that these gloves have been sent to Hong Kong, and only 25 per cent. value has been added there, will he stop this practice?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

I have made very close inquiries. If the hon. Member has any further evidence, I shall be glad to consider it.

Photo of Mr Barnett Janner Mr Barnett Janner , Leicester North West

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that cheap labour plus a freedom from Customs tariffs result in gloves made in the Far East being sold at prices below those charged for British manufactures, and what steps he proposes to take to assist British manufacturers.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

I have received complaints that knitted woollen gloves made in Hong Kong are being sold here at lower prices than gloves made in the United Kingdom, but have no evidence of malpractice in this trade. It would be contrary to the policy of Her Majesty's Government to impose protective quotas or duties on imports from Hong Kong or any other Colonial Territories.

Photo of Mr Barnett Janner Mr Barnett Janner , Leicester North West

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that his reply as to comparison of prices is an understatement and that these gloves are being sold at less than half the price at which they can be manufactured in this country? Will he also inquire into the position regarding employment, figures having been given which, in the view of Leicester manufacturers, are not correct? Will he also assure the Leicester manufacturers and others that he will take steps to stop this practice?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

The hon. Member is raising separate points. I am not concerned here with the question of price at which the gloves are sold, but with whether they are manufactured in Hong Kong. If they are manufactured in Hong Kong, of course they qualify for Imperial Preference.

Photo of Mr Barnett Janner Mr Barnett Janner , Leicester North West

In view of the unsatisfactory answers which have been given, I shall seek an early opportunity of raising this matter on the Adjournment.