HC Deb 10 July 1952 vol 503 cc1495-6
7. Mr. Russell

asked the President of the Board of Trade the value and quantity of finished cotton cloth imported from Japan in the first five months of 1952.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Imports from Japan of finished cotton cloth in January to May, 1952, amounted to 1,864,000 square yards valued at £473,000.

Mr. Russell

Is not this finished cloth in competition with our own textile industry? Does my right hon. Friend think it wise to import finished cloth as distinct from partly finished cloth or raw materials, in view of the plight of the textile industry?

Mr. Thorneycroft

These imports resulted from contracts for cloth for the Services which the Ministry of Supply placed in Japan before the end of July, 1951. It is only fair to the previous Government to say that at that period Lancashire was unable to accept the orders.

14. Mr. Rhodes

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many square yards of cotton grey cloth and rayon grey cloth were imported into this country from Japan during the period from the end of the late war to 31st March, 1952; and how many yards of this cloth have been exported in the same period.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Imports of grey cotton cloth from Japan from 1945 to the end of March, 1952, amounted to 489 million square yards. Imports of artificial silk cloth of all kinds from Japan in the same period were 17 million square yards, of which at least 13 million square yards were grey cloth.

No separate statistics of exports of the processed cloth are available. With the exception, however, of an amount estimated at about 23 million square yards imported since 1949, partly to supplement home supplies and partly for the defence programme, all Japanese grey cotton and rayon cloth has been imported for re-export after processing, and the re-export condition has been strictly enforced.

Mr. Rhodes

Will the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that none of the cloth which is held here now will be allowed into the home market?

Mr. Thorneycroft

It is held subject to the re-export conditions I have set out in the answer.