HC Deb 16 December 1947 vol 445 cc1508-9
74. Mr. A. Edward Davies

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware to what extent the china and earthenware industry is being revived and rehabilitated in Japan under General McArthur's direction; what quantities are being exported; and to which countries.

Mr. Belcher

I am informed that the capacity of this industry is nearly as high as before the war, but that the capacity now in use is only one quarter of the prewar figure. Complete figures of quantities exported are not available, but up to 31st August last the chief destinations recorded were the United States, the Netherlands East Indies and, to a less extent, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Mr. Davies

Is regard being paid to trade union conditions and to some of the malpractices which were associated with the manufacture of pottery with which we had to compete before the war, and is my hon. Friend aware that we are already meeting serious competition in Canada?

Mr. Belcher

I am afraid that we have no control over trade union conditions or any other conditions in those countries.

Mr. Scollan

Is any part of this export from Japan to the United States taken as reparations?

Mr. Belcher

I would require notice of that question, but I do not think so.

Mr. Orr-Ewing

Would the Minister inquire whether production is being carried out under labour conditions governed by an International Labour Office Convention? Is it not important that we should know that?

Mr. Belcher

That seems to me to be quite a different question.