HC Deb 24 April 1968 vol 763 cc219-20
47 and 48. Mr. Mapp

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what is the extent of the increased import quotas of cotton textiles by the United States of America and the European Economic Community countries as agreed in clause 24 of Command Paper 3347 dated July, 1967;

(2) what is the extent of the quota reductions of cotton textiles into this country following upon the increased quotas taken by the United States of America and the European Economic Community countries as agreed during the Kennedy Round negotiations.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

Information published in the Federal Register suggests that the United States have agreed to increase their quotas—which are less comprehensive than ours—by at least 5 per cent. in each of the next three years. The E.E.C. countries have also agreed to increase their quotas by 1970 to at least 154 per cent. of the 1962 figure. There has never been any question that our quotas would be reduced when other quotas were increased.

Mr. Mapp

Will my hon. Friend consider the possibility of the liberalisation of trade which is promised in those figures having an effect on Lancashire? Does he contemplate, first, a reduction in quotas in the 'seventies and, secondly, at least an immediate step to dispose of the 1 per cent. growth factor in the present quota arrangements?

Mr. Mallalieu

The increased quotas in the E.E.C. countries and the United States may have the effect of relieving some of the pressure on Lancashire. As my right hon. Friend said earlier, we cannot make any change in import policy until we have this report.

Sir G. Nabarro

Is it not a fact that the present cotton import policy of Her Majesty's Government seems specially designed to injure Nelson and Colne, Oldham and the other cotton towns of South Lancashire?

Mr. Mallalieu

The present import policy is designed to provide a much greater measure of protection for Lancashire than was provided by Conservative Administrations.

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