HC Deb 06 December 1927 vol 211 cc1155-6
10. Mr. BETHEL

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will consider the advisability, in view of the depressed condition of the cotton trade in Lancashire, of issuing Regulations that all cotton cloths imported into this country shall be accompanied by a consular licence issued in the country of origin with a sample of the cloth, stating width, number of threads per inch in warp and weft, actual counts, and price per yard, and arrange that these shall be available for inspection by any British manufacturer who desires to take effective means to meet foreign competition?


I have no power to make the Regulations suggested; nor do I think they are necessary or desirable. If information is required as to cotton cloths of foreign origin which compete with British goods in overseas markets, I may remind my hon. Friend that the Department of Overseas Trade from time to time collects samples of such goods, and I understand that collections of the kind have been shown recently to manufacturers in Manchester.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Lancashire cotton manufacturers will be obliged if they can be furnished with these particulars?


I know that it is done in some countries, but the whole policy of the Board of Trade at the League of Nations and elsewhere has been to get this kind of interference abolished. I do not think the best way of getting it abolished by other countries is to start it ourselves.


Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that to give this information makes for greater accuracy in statistics and more reliable data for manufacturers to work upon?


No, Sir; I should have thought that if there were any kind of cloth which has been largely imported into this country, manufacturers here would know what it is.