HC Deb 28 April 1936 vol 311 cc717-8
31. Mr. LEACH

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the permission given to importers of textile goods to describe as of British origin textiles manufactured abroad and merely finished or dyed and finished in this country penalises British manufacturers and merchants, in that certain countries allow British textiles to enter at lower duties; and will be consider a revision of the regulations governing this matter?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

The regulations defining the nationality of goods imported into other countries are laid down by the importing country and not by His Majesty's Government. I am aware that the practice to which the hon. Member refers may operate prejudicially to United Kingdom exports in certain countries where a reserved share of the market has been in some way guaranteed for United Kingdom textiles, but His Majesty's Government are endeavouring, in such cases, to guard against this risk.


Do I understand from the reply that an importer of Italian textiles, which have been brought into this country through Austria or some other country, can, with the right hon. Gentleman's permission, re-export those goods as British commodities? Surely the right hon. Gentleman has some power in regard to that?


The question on the Paper refers to goods as of British origin imported into foreign countries. If the hon. Gentleman wants information with regard to imports into this country, he had better put a question on the Paper.


Does not my right hon. Friend recognise how detrimental it is to the British exporter to allow imports of textile goods in the grey, and then to allow their exports as British manufacture, whereas, as a matter of fact, they have only gone through a dyeing process?


I have already pointed out that in certain cases we are endeavouring to deal with this point.


Will my right hon. Friend alter the regulations in regard to it?