This notice was necessary to inform traders that applications would be considered for licences to import newly restricted textiles from Taiwan and the Republic of Korea which were in transit on or before 30th September and had been paid for under the terms of irrevocable letters of credit, opened before 8th August in the case of Taiwan or 22nd August in the case of Korea.
Is it not a fact that the Minister's hasty action in August, threatening with bankruptcy importers in this country who had bought goods for which they had actually paid, action that he was then forced to unscramble, showed serious errors of judgment, as revealed by the issue of the apologetic notice to which reference has been made?
There was no error of judgment. The restrictions imposed on Taiwan and Korea were emergency restrictions imposed at the behest of the British textile industry generally, which had suffered a lot from competition by imports from those countries. They were originally imposed because we had made no progress with Korea on the GATT multi-fibre arrangement; the Koreans had taken a tough line, and it was not possible to reach agreement. Moreover, the imposition of import restrictions, which these were, inevitably causes disruption to trade and traders.