HC Deb 05 March 1919 vol 113 cc387-8
20. Mr. SUGDEN

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether, in view of the serious and uncertain nature of the markets abroad of the Lancashire cotton-spinning and weaving trade obtaining since the Armistice was signed, he will take steps to obtain a Report as to the possibility of opening new markets abroad, of the solution of exchange values, and of the proper support to establish a reasonable and full supply of raw cotton at such price as will enable the Lancashire cotton trade to compete in the Eastern markets?

Sir ARTHUR STEEL-MAITLAND (Department of Overseas Trade)

It is one of the main duties of Commercial Attachés and Trade Commissioners to report on the possibility of new and extended markets for British goods, including, of course, textiles. As regards the Far East, the situation is full of anxiety, and the dispatch of a special mission to investigate the condition is at present under the consideration of the Department, which is in communication with the trade. No Report can suggest any general solution of exchange values. The problems of exchange differ in different localities, but they are, of course, taken into consideration where they occur. I am not aware that there is any prospect of a shortage of American cotton for Lancashire mills, while as regards Egyptian cotton His Majesty's Government have already taken the necessary steps to secure supplies.


Could a Report be furnished as to whether it is not a fact that the American cotton planters are exploiting the prices of raw cotton to the detriment of the Lancashire cotton spinners?


The hon. Member must put down a question about it.