HC Deb 08 February 1971 vol 811 cc18-9
27. Mr. Barnett

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement of the Government's policy on imports of cotton textiles.

Mr. Noble

As announced in the House on 22nd July, 1969, a tariff is to be introduced on cotton yarn and woven cotton textiles from the Commonwealth Preference Area on 1st January, 1972. The present system of quota controls will then be terminated. Work is proceeding on the implementation of this decision, which the present Government have endorsed.

Mr. Barnett

The Minister will be aware that there are people in Lancashire who fear that this switch away from quotas will mean the death knell of the Lancashire textile industry. Will he at least keep a close eye on the situation, and if there seems to be a need to revert back, will he do something about it immediately?

Mr. Noble

The hon. Gentleman takes a great interest in this matter and will know that this move was proposed to the Government by the Textile Council. Although I cannot deny that there may be people who are worried, there are ways and means, if there should be serious damage, of stopping this type of import entering in too great quantities.

Mr. Dell

When the statement was made on 9th July, there was also a proposal that there should be further discussions with the Indian Government as to assistance to India when the new tariff was introduced. Has that proposal made progress?

Mr. Noble

Yes, Sir. Discussions have been taking place with the Indian Government who, because of their particular arrangements bilaterally, might be severely affected. We have arranged that if this should happen there are ways, by aid and other means, to compensate for it.

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