HC Deb 13 February 1979 vol 962 cc491-2W
Mr. Nicholas Winterton

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the general guidelines for a textile and clothing sectoral policy recently produced by the EEC Commission.

Mr. Les Huckfield

I refer the hon. Member to the explanatory memorandum on the EEC Commission's "Communication to the Council on general guidelines for a textiles and clothing industry policy", reference R/2118/ 78, submitted by my Department on 12 October 1978.

The communication is complex and wide-ranging. It has been discussed by member States in the Council machinery but has not so far been considered by the Council itself. The Commission has held a series of hearings with the different sectors of the Community industry and the unions. Further discussions with member States are expected, after which it is envisaged that the Commission will bring forward specific proposals to the Council to deal with particular problems which have been identified. We shall seek to ensure that any measures adopted by the Community are consistent with United Kingdom objectives.

Initiatives have already been taken by the Commission in three areas which it sees in part as elements in a Community policy for the textiles and clothing industry. The Commission has put forward proposals for a regulation for Community aid for industrial restructuring and conversion (R/2821/78) which are now under discussion with member States. An explanatory memorandum on these proposals was submitted by my Department on 11 December 1978. Also preliminary ideas for a Council regulation setting out Community conditions for outward processing of textile and clothing products by Mediterranean countries with which the Community has preferential trade agreements are being discussed by the Commission with member States. Ideas for a second Community research and development programme for textiles and clothing are also being discussed by the Commission with member States.