HC Deb 01 December 1955 vol 546 cc244-5W
Mr. K. Thompson

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to continue to impress upon the United States Government the serious effect on the cotton textile industry in the United Kingdom of the prolonged uncertainty about United States cotton export policy.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

This problem has been kept constantly before the United States authorities by Her Majesty's Ambassador in Washington, and the Permanent Secretary of my Department will be taking the opportunity of a visit to Washington next week to discuss the question again with the United States Department of Agriculture.

A special meeting of the Standing Committee of the International Cotton Advisory Committee has been called in Washington tomorrow (Friday) to consider the world cotton situation. The United Kingdom representative has instructions to draw attention at this meeting to the effect of the support price policy of the United States in producing the present situation, and to the importance of steps being taken to effect a readjustment of world prices with a minimum of dislocation to industry and suffering to cotton farmers.

In addition, I am glad to say that, acting on my advice, the industry in this country has decided to send a small delegation representing all sides of the trade to discuss the whole matter with the American interests concerned, including the United States Government. The mission will be leaving for the U.S.A. at an early date. The United States Departments of State and Agriculture have been informed and have welcomed the opportunity given them by the visit to hear the views of the leaders of the cotton textile industry in this country, as the second largest importer of United States cotton, on some of the problems created by the present cotton supply and price situation in the United States.