HC Deb 16 July 1964 vol 698 cc271-2W
30. Mr. Leavey

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development whether he is satisfied that import tariffs and quota arrangements are now such as will secure a position in the United Kingdom which will provide for the cotton industry fair competitive conditions, allowing for growth and stability of employment; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Heath

I am satisfied that the arrangements we have made for the regulation of imports of cotton textiles—together with the faster expansion of the domestic economy—have contributed to the steady and significant improvement which has taken place in the cotton industry over the past months. The arrangements under which certain overseas suppliers restrain exports to the United Kingdom run out at the end of 1965.

I am seeing the Cotton Board next week about proposals it has made for protection of the cotton industry after this time. The arrangements to operate after the end of next year can only be settled after consultation with various interested parties, including major suppliers in the Commonwealth. The Government are well aware that the United Kingdom already imports from developing countries a higher proportion of the cotton textiles she uses than any other major industrialised country. They consider that the arrangements to operate after 1965 should provide as clear as possible a basis on which our own producers, and other suppliers of cotton textiles to the British market, can make their plans.