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Cotton Yarn and Cloth (Imports)

Oral Answers to Questions — Board of Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th March 1968.

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Photo of Mr Robert Howarth Mr Robert Howarth , Bolton East 12:00 am, 13th March 1968

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give the figures for imports during 1967 of cotton yarn and cloth and indicate what action he intends to take to reduce the increasing rate of imports from non-quota countries.

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

Retained imports in 1967 amounted to 39 million lb. of yarn and 574 million yards of cloth.

As I have already made clear. I do not propose to take far reaching decisions about imports until I have the results of the Textile Council's Productivity and Efficiency Study.

Photo of Mr Robert Howarth Mr Robert Howarth , Bolton East

Does not my right hon. Friend accept that the basic problem of the textile industry is the increasing level of textile imports? Will he promise early action to close the sort of gap indicated in the Question?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

What was remarkable about the increase in imports in 1967 was that the greater part did not come from so-called quota countries, the less developed countries; it came from the non-quota countries which largely have wage levels as high as ours. I have said again and again—and I must stand by this—that I shall wait for the Textile Council's Productivity and Efficiency Study before taking a long-term view on the future of imports.

Photo of Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke , Darwen

Of the non-quota countries, Portugal does not have wage levels comparable to our own. Could the right hon. Gentleman give some information about how the agreement which his predecessor made is working?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

The effect of what my predecessor did was that, after a very large increase in imports from Portugal in the first three months of last year, there was a very rapid fall. They are now running at a much lower level than they were at this time last year.