HC Deb 17 February 1937 vol 320 cc1168-9
28. Sir Nairne Stewart Sandeman

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether there has been an increase or decrease in the import of Indian cotton goods to the Crown Colonies during the past year; and whether he can give the figures?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I regret that the figures for the past year of imports of Indian cotton piece goods into the Colonial Empire are not yet available. The figures for exports of such goods from India to the Colonial Empire, which may be regarded as approximating to the import figures, were approximately:—

  • 45 million yards in 1931–32,
  • 32½ millions in 1932–33,
  • 26 millions in 1933–34,
  • 33½ millions in 1934–35, and
  • 45¾ millions in 1935–36.

Sir N. Stewart Sandeman

Are we to understand from that reply that the Indian mills can compete with Lancashire goods on equal terms, and if so, why do they require a 20 per cent. duty as protection in India?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

That question should be addressed to the India Office and not to me. I was asked to state certain facts which show that the export of Indian cotton goods to the Colonial Empire is now back, almost exactly, to the figure of 1931–1932.

31. Sir J. Nall

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the quantities of tea imported from Japan and Formosa, respectively, in the years 1934, 1935 and 1936; and what steps are being taken to counteract the growing competition with the tea product of British Colonies?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Particulars of imports from Formosa are not separately recorded in the United Kingdom trade returns, but the total imports of tea consigned from Japan (including Formosa) were 3,700,000 lbs. in 1934, 3,800,000 lbs. in 1935 and 6,100,000 lbs. in 1936. These imports are, however, still very small compared with imports from British Colonies which amounted to 159,000,000 lbs in 1936. The Colonial percentage of total imports into the United Kingdom actually increased in 1936 and there appears to be no reason to take any special steps to give further assistance to imports from the Colonies which are already encouraged by a preference of 2d. per lb.

Sir J. Nall

Is it not a fact that although the aggregate may be regarded as small for the time being, the figures show a rapid increase and is that being kept under review?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

The figure has admittedly gone up to 6,000,000 lbs. in one year, but that is the only year which shows any appreciable increase and, of course, the figures are very small compared with the figures of Colonial tea. I gather that the general opinion of Colonial producers is that they can produce better and more tea.