25. Air-Commodore Harvey
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware of the serious Japanese competition existing in East Africa as regards textiles; and what steps he is taking to safeguard British interests in the textile market in that country.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. James Griffiths)
I am aware of the figures of imports of textiles into East Africa. These show that imports of cotton textiles from Japan in 1949 were less than one-third of those in 1939, while imports from this country were four times as large as those in 1939. Within the total allocation to each Colony of sterling for purchases in Japan, the quantity of textile imports to be licensed is a matter for the Colonial Governments to decide in the light of the territories' requirements. I am going further into this matter with my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Japanese imports are steadily increasing? Will he take drastic action now, before it is too late to protect our home industries?
§ Mr. Griffiths
I know that imports from Japan are increasing. As I have said, I am in consultation with the President of the Board of Trade about the matter.
§ Sir Peter Macdonald
Will the Minister encourage certain British firms who are anxious to start textile industries in East Africa, who have been hampered at every turn by ordinances and regulations? Will the right hon. Gentleman see that they are given their licences and allowed to get on with the job at the earliest possible moment?