§ 5. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
asked the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has made to the Portuguese Government about the increase in the import of Portuguese textiles into the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
§ The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Douglas Jay)
I have discussed this matter with the Portuguese authorities and I know that they appreciate my concern that the restrictions which have been imposed on imports of cotton textiles from other low-cost countries should not result in a diversion of trade to Portugal.
§ Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
Has the President of the Board of Trade come across the fairly well-founded suggestion that these Portuguese exporters of textiles to the 1625 United Kingdom receive a 20 per cent. premium on all the sterling they earn thereby? If so, is not this a flagrant breach of international trading? Will he not examine that as a matter of urgency?
§ Mr. Hale
Can my right hon. Friend say why we have agreed that a tariff preference should be given to the Salazar dictatorship where wages in the textile industry are about equivalent to those in Hong Kong, whose colonial and African policy is consistently hostile to us, and from which the effects are already being observed in the depression in Lancashire?
§ Mr. Thornton
Is my right hon. Friend aware that some of our best mills in a narrow sector of the industry, completely re-equipped and operating on three shifts, are facing extinction because of these ridiculously low-priced imports?