HC Deb 23 October 1972 vol 843 cc785-6
42. Mr. Winterton

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action is being taken to protect the British textile industry against unfair foreign competition.

The Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Peter Emery)

The British textile industry is protected both by quantitative restrictions on cotton products and by tariffs. We also have power to impose anti-dumping duties on imports which are dumped and are causing or threatening material injury to a United Kingdom industry.

Mr. Winterton

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. However, perhaps he is aware, as I am, that the textile industry in this country has suffered more than any other industry from contraction and redundancies over the last 50 years. Is he satisfied that even with the figures which he has just spelt out, the Government are doing enough for this industry which is so vital to Lancashire and Cheshire? Is he assured that their interests are safeguarded in the European Economic Community?

Mr. Emery

The Government certainly appreciate the problems that this industry has had to face. I think I can say that we have no formal applications on hand at present for anti-dumping action. We are in touch with several sectors of the industry which are considering the problems involved, and of course the Government will deal with these matters if they should arise.

Mr. Bray

Can my hon. Friend indicate whether it is his intention to continue the tariffs and quotas beyond 31st December, 1972?

Mr. Emery

If my hon. Friend is asking "Will anti-dumping action be possible when we join the EEC and after that period?" the answer is "Yes".

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