HC Deb 08 July 1966 vol 731 cc118-9W
Mr. Mapp

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a statement about the final arrangements for the control of imports of cotton textiles.

Mr. Jay

We have now completed prolonged discussions with most of the cotton textile exporting countries concerned at two successive meetings of the G.A.T.T. Cotton Textiles Committee and in a series of bilateral meetings. In framing our final control scheme, I have taken careful account of the views which exporting countries have expressed to us, and I have gone as far as I could to meet them consistently with our declared objective of securing a total limit on our cotton textile imports from sources covered by country or global quotas.

With effect from 1st January this year, imports from India and Hong Kong will be limited to the quotas which they held in 1962–65, namely 11.5 million 1b. of yarn and 195 million yards of piece-goods and made-up articles from India; and 6.3 million 1b. of yarn and 185 million yards of piece-goods and made-up articles from Hong Kong.

Imports from other affected countries will be limited to the average level of their total exports to us in the years 1962, 1963 and 1964 with a 10 per cent. addition in the case of piece-goods and made-up articles. The totals are accordingly 8.5 million 1b. of yarn and 131 million yards of piece-goods and made-up articles. Within these total figures each of these countries will be allocated a country quota equivalent to half of its individual average exports in those years; and for those countries which sent us finished cloth and made-up goods there will be a further small quota for such goods. The remainder of the amounts available will be open to all the countries affected, except of course India and Hong Kong, on a global quota basis. That is to say that licences for the balance can be used by importers to buy from any of the countries concerned.

It is my intention that this scheme shall continue until 1970. But in 1967 and each year thereafter, the level of imports from affected countries will be increased by 1 per cent.

Imports from affected countries will be divided into categories to prevent an excessive concentration on particular products or sectors of trade.

Detailed information on the scheme will be circulated to the countries concerned and made available in a Notice to Importers, which is being issued today.

I have made it clear to the British industry that these arrangements have been planned so that by 1970, the reorganisation now proceeding, together with any other necessary measures, will enable it to face its overseas competitors as an efficient and viable industry; and the Cotton Board has agreed to participate in a major study of the means of promoting productivity to ensure that the breathing space provided by these measures is used to the best advantage.