HC Deb 28 July 1976 vol 916 cc637-9
14. Mr. Brotherton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to pay an official visit to Taiwan.

Mr. Rowlands

No, Sir.

Mr. Brotherton

Has the attention of the Foreign Secretary been drawn to Early Day Motion No. 513 about cheap suits from Taiwan? Is he aware that if he went to Taiwan he could buy a tail coat for £2.10 and then cease to insult the Heads of States of two continents?

Mr. Rowlands

I am sure that my right hon. Friend has read the Early Day Motion avidly. The hon. Gentleman will know that action was taken in 1975 through the EEC, which unilaterally imposed restrictions on a wide range of textile products from Taiwan.

Mr. MacFarquhar

Since one of the reasons why my right hon. Friend will not be going to Taiwan is presumably better relations with China, may I ask whether those relations with the mainland are resulting in any agreement on opportunities for British Sinologists to spend long study periods in China?

Mr. Rowlands

I cannot at this stage confirm the point, but if my hon. Friend wishes to table a specific Question about it I shall try to answer it.

Sir Anthony Royle

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I welcome the statement that his right hon. Friend does not intend to visit Taiwan? However, would he care to make a statement regarding the activities of the Taiwanese Government within Hong Kong? Is he aware that there is considerable concern about the activities of KMT people within Hong Kong? Will he let the House know his views about this?

Mr. Rowlands

I shall certainly take note of that point. I do not have any details about it.

Mr. Cryer

Does my hon. Friend accept that the quota restrictions that the Government have imposed on textiles from Taiwan are inadequate? Does he further agree that it is the duty of the British Government to try to persuade the Taiwanese Government to stop the gross exploitation by capitalism in that country, so that working people in Taiwan have at least decent wage levels and the standards that working people enjoy in this country? The British textile industry does not mind competition, but it objects to gross exploitation and unfair competition.

Mr. Rowlands

I doubt whether we have very much influence on the domestic economic policy of Taiwan. However, we are certainly keeping the situation regarding the importation of cheap tex tiles under review.

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