HC Deb 10 March 1981 vol 1000 cc265-6W
Mr. Farr

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what steps are being taken through the European Economic Community to limit United States imports of knitted fabric socks, underwear and outerwear, to the United Kingdom, which benefit from artificially low American energy prices.

Mr. Parkinson

[pursuant to his reply, 9 March 1981, c. 232]The Government are extremely concerned about the impact of United States energy pricing policies on a wide range of United Kingdom industries, including particularly clothing and textiles. In December last I was able to secure the unanimous agreement of the Council of Ministers of the European Communities to a new and urgent Community initiative covering the whole range of problems. Since then President Reagan has decontrolled oil prices. This is a major step in the right direction. We are continuing to press hard for a similar acceleration in the deregulation of United States gas prices. The Government do not think piecemeal quota action is the best solution to the problem and would prefer to avoid this.