§ 11 and 13. Squadron Leader Burden
asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) the yardage and total value of wool cloth imported in 1950 for sale in the general categories; and from which countries the imports were made;
(2) the yardage of wool cloth purchased abroad in 1950 for sale in the British utility ranges; what was the duty chargeable on import; and from which countries the purchases were made.
§ The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Harold Wilson)
Twenty-eight million square yards of woven woollen and worsted tissues, including mixtures, valued at £11,900,000 were imported into the United Kingdom in 1950 from 26 countries within the Commonwealth and 39 other countries. No cloth is imported as utility, but licences are issued to clothing manufacturers, under certain conditions, to make up imported cloth into utility garments. The percentage of cloth imported in 1950 which went into utility garments is not known. I am sending the hon. and gallant Member a full list of the imports from each country, together with information about the duties chargeable on imports.
§ Squadron Leader Burden
Do not these import figures show that this country, an exporter and traditional manufacturer of cloth, is now having to import from other countries? If this cloth is comparable in value to our own does it not show that foreign countries are likely to come into strong competition with our own manufacturers in the overseas markets in the near future? Is the Minister aware of this, and taking action accordingly?
§ Mr. Wilson
There has always been a very considerable degree of trade both ways in woollen cloth and other textiles.
§ 12. Squadron Leader Burden
asked the President of the Board of Trade the value and yardage of wool cloth, including wool mixtures, imported by the United Kingdom and re-exported to the United States of America and countries of the British Commonwealth in 1948, 1949 and 1950, respectively.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with the hon. 356 and gallant Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the answer:
§ The amounts of woven woollen and worsted tissues imported by the United Kingdom and re-exported to the United States of America and countries of the British Commonwealth in 1948, 1949 and 1950 were:
|U.S.A.||British Commonwealth Countries|
|Sq. yds.||Value||Sq. yds||Value|
§ 15. Mr. Assheton
asked the President of the Board of Trade the exports in March of rayon yarn and staple fibre.
§ Mr. Assheton
Does the right hon. Gentleman recollect that in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Clitheroe (Mr. Fort) on 1st March he gave the House quite inaccurate information when he said that the exports of yarn in January were 891,000 lbs.? I want to be quite certain that when the right hon. Gentleman gives the figures for March he will give it in pounds sterling and lbs. and compare pounds sterling with pounds sterling and not lbs. with £ s. d.
§ Mr. Wilson
I have expressed my regret, both in an answer and to the hon. Gentleman in question. The mistake was not, in fact, due to a comparison of lbs. with pounds sterling, but was a genuine error for all that. When the March figures are computed the right hon. Gentleman can be assured that they will be accurate.
§ Mr. Drayson
Is the right hon. Gentleman taking action to restrict the export of this rayon staple fibre or yarn and have it diverted to the home trade?
§ Mr. Wilson
As far as staple fibre is concerned, as existing contracts are completed, as most of them will be quite quickly, exports will be restricted in agreement with the producers to about one-third of their 1950 level. So far as rayon yarn is concerned, I gave an answer on that to the hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) a few days ago.