HC Deb 08 February 1967 vol 740 cc1625-6
6. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will take steps to ensure that imported textiles made from man-made fibres will in future be controlled through the global quota and other quota arrangements.

Mr. Jay

No, Sir; the international arrangements which govern the use of quota restrictions on cotton textiles by importing countries, specifically rule out their extension to other goods.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Why have we agreed to this? Is it not a fact that man- made fibres compete directly with cotton goods, particularly mixtures which can contain up to as much as 49 per cent. of cotton? What sort of protection does the President envisage in that case? He will not do it by the global quota for Lancashire in this regard.

Mr. Jay

It was the previous Government which agreed to it. I think the hon. Member forgets that where the textile is less than 50 per cent. cotton then, although the quota does not apply, of course there is a tariff of 17½ per cent. and above which is applicable to Commonwealth as well as to non-Commonwealth goods. The tariff applies wherever the quota does not.

Mr. Arthur Davidson

Can my right hon. Friend say nothing about the possibility of setting up an imports commission? Why has he said nothing concrete about that recently?

Mr. Jay

The control of imports Is, of course, firmly in the hands of the Board of Trade and we are administering this global quota which has never been in force before and which gives a guaranteed top limit from Lancashire's point of view on the volume of imports from all these countries.

Mr. Barber

Is the right hon. Gentleman actually saying that because the arrangements were made by the previous Government he will not consider the representations of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke)?

Mr. Jay

I am glad to do that, but the right hon. Gentleman will agree that most Governments pay some regard to treaties with other countries, even when they have been made by the previous Government.