HC Deb 02 February 1961 vol 633 cc1159-60
4. Mr. C. Osborne

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that Russian importers of British knitwear have expressed dissatisfaction at the quality of the goods delivered; haw these orders were placed; whether the responsible trade organisations were consulted; what control was exercised over the quality; What investigations he has made into these complaints; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maudling

On reading of these Russian complaints, I made detailed inquiries. The Russian purchasing organisation ordered the goods concerned from suppliers of their awn choosing. I understand that only a very small proportion of the total supplies has been the subject of complaints and that claims have been settled to the complete satisfaction of the Russians.

Mr. Osborne

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that the whole of the textile quota in the last trade agreement was grabbed by a former Member of this House, an extreme Left-winger, who knows nothing at all of the trade, who did not go through the trade at all, who parcelled out the orders to third-rate manufacturers and who, as a consequence, has got the British manufacturers a bad name in the export markets? Will my right hon. Friend stress to the Soviet authorities that next time they give orders of this kind, they should go through the proper channels and not to their mere camp followers?

Mr. Maudling

We must leave it to the Russian Government to decide through what channels they buy their goods. I am, however, glad to say that despite these complaints, about which there has been a rather exaggerated amount of publicity, they are still continuing to buy British products.

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