HC Deb 31 March 1980 vol 982 cc21-2W
Mr. Cryer

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many employees of his Department ensure that import quotas of textile goods are complied with; and how many prosecutions have been undertaken during 1979 and in the current year to the most recent practicable date for breaches of quotas.

Mr. Parkinson

Of the 75 staff referred to in the reply my right hon. Friend the Minister for Consumer Affairs gave the hon. Member on 25 March [Vol. 981, c. 542], 66 are concerned with import licensing in respect of textile quotas. No prosecutions in relation to breaches of quotas have been undertaken by my Department during the period in question. Where offences in relation to importing occur, any question of prosecution would be a matter for Her Majesty's Customs and Excise.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will take steps to prevent the United Kingdom clothing and textile industries from being disrupted by imports from countries which do no allow the United Kingdom open markets; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Parkinson

Some developing countries maintain restrictions on trade for legitimate balance of payments and other reasons, and these restrictions are sanctioned under the GATT. But we are continually seeking, both bilaterally and through the European Community, to persuade the more advanced developing countries to reduce their barriers. Imports of clothing and textiles from these countries into the United Kingdom are already subject to strict controls under the multifibre arrangement.

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