§ Mr. Patrick Maitland
asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of shirts made in Hong Kong which were imported into the United Kingdom in 1955, and to the latest convenient date in 1956, respectively; what proportion of normal United Kingdom output this 114W represents; and how the price compares with the home product.
§ Mr. P. Thorneycroft
The numbers of woven shirts imported from Hong Kong during 1955 and in the period January-August, 1956, were 484,155 dozen and 479,657 dozen respectively. I have no reason to believe that these shirts were not made in Hong Kong. Precise figures of United Kingdom current output are not available but in the year ending June, 1956, these imports are estimated on the basis of Census of Production to have represented between 10 and 20 per cent. of home production in quantity and less than 5 per cent. in value.
Average prices of shirts sold by United Kingdom manufacturers are currently about four times the c.i.f. prices of shirts imported from Hong Kong, but all the indications are that the sizes and quality of the garments are not comparable. Whilst imports of shirts from Hong Kong have been rising, sales of shirts by United Kingdom manufacturers have increased substantially since 1954.