§ 3. Mr. Henry Brooke
asked the President of the Board of Trade why the import of silks from Cyprus is not permitted unless they are to be re-exported.
Mr. H. Wilson
Restrictions on the importation of silk goods from all sources have been imposed because of the restrictions imposed on our own producers by a shortage of raw material. There have been no recent applications to import silk goods from Cyprus, but in the interests of developing local industries there I may say that a request for the import, without re-export condition, of a reasonable quantity of silk woven in Cyprus would be sympathetically considered.
§ Mr. Brooke
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have in my hand a letter from his Department, dated only last month, refusing a licence for the import of silks from Cyprus unless the goods were to be re-exported?
I think the silk trade in this country, which is subject to very strict conditions about exports, would have strong feelings if we were to allow too much in without conditions, but I have made it clear to the hon. Member that I am prepared to reconsider the question as far as Cyprus is concerned.
Is the right hon. Gentleman not in error in the statement which he has just made about exports, as the French are allowed to send to this country half a million pounds of silk a year without any obligation to re-export?
There was no error in my statement. I am quite aware of the position with regard to France and with regard to Italy, too. As the hon. and gallant Member knows, I am meeting hon. Members on this subject very shortly.