HC Deb 19 March 1969 vol 780 cc489-90
37 and 38. Mr. David Steel

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what representations have been made to the Government of Australia about their import restrictions on United Kingdom knitwear;

(2) to what extent exports of high quality knitwear to Australia have been adversely affected by the quantity restrictions introduced by that Government in December, 1967.

Mr. Dell

There was some recovery in the sterling value of our exports of high quality knitwear to Australia between 1967 and 1968. No Government-to-Government representations have been made since the quota restrictions were introduced in December, 1967, but it remains our hope that if the Australian Tariff Board decides that continued protection is necessary, this can be so devised as to bear more lightly on high-quality supplies.

Mr. Steel

Would it not be useful to make Government-to-Government representations on this matter, and suggest to the Australians that their objectives could be met if they exempted from their quota restrictions the import of pure wool knitwear, which is above the value of 15 Australian dollars per 1b. weight?

Mr. Dell

As I indicated to the hon. Member, we are bringing to the attention of the Australian authorities, through the Tariff Board, that such a method of discrimination, in favour of high quality knitwear, should be used. These representations are open to be made by the British industry because the Tariff Board is an independent authority. I hope that the Government will be able to find some means of making informal representations.

Mr. Speaker

I would remind the House that ahead of us we have two Private Notice Questions, three important Statements, a Motion of Censure, the Air Force Estimates and two Bills. Conciseness in debate and questions will help us today.