HC Deb 02 April 1953 vol 513 cc1342-4
15. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is satisfied that the recently announced permission for the increased import of cotton textiles into the United Kingdom from the Continent of Europe will not damage domestic production; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

The restrictions which were recently removed were imposed for balance of payments reasons and it was always the Government's intention to remove them as soon as circumstances permitted. I feel confident that the United Kingdom cotton textile industry is fully capable of meeting competition from Western Europe.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Is my right hon. Friend then satisfied that the domestic market is in a healthy enough condition to absorb the additional textiles that are bound to be thrown on it by the recent Government decision?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I am satisfied that the recent Government decision about relaxation of quota restrictions in Europe was rightly timed and right in scope, and that if it had not been taken very considerable damage would have been done to the general cause of wider expansion of trade throughout Europe and to our export trade generally.

17. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent the recent relaxation of restrictions on imports from Western Europe will affect the import of stationery from Italy.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Paper stationery may be imported from Western European and certain other foreign countries under the quota for paper manufactures, and this has been increased from a value of £350,000 for the first half of 1953 to £500,000 for the second half. The quota for other stationery has also been increased from £140,000 for the first half of the year to £155,000 for the second half. I cannot say how far these increases will affect imports of stationery from Italy.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Does the President of the Board of Trade realise that, as Italian stilettos come into this country in the Italian stationery quota, the announcement he has made holds out a prospect of a vast and substantial increase in the import of these lethal weapons to this country?

Mr. Thorneycroft

No, Sir. Thanks to the vigilance of the hon. and gallant Member, arrangements have been made to prevent the imports of these weapons under the description of stationery.