§ Mr. Farr
asked the Secretary of State for Trade why the imports of category 4 products, T-shirts from Taiwan, in six months of 1981, January to March and September to November, amounted to 1, 504, 000 garments against a permitted quota for the whole year of 997, 000 garments and if further excess shipments took place in that year; and whether the 1982 quota will be reduced to correspond with this overshipment.
§ Mr. Peter Rees
Imports of T-shirts from Taiwan for consumption in the United Kingdom require an import licence, which is counted against the relevant quota. Some very limited flexibility is allowed in the use of quotas, but once the working quota level for the year concerned has been reached no further licences are issued.
The figures quoted by my hon. Friend are distorted in at least two respects and do not indicate that the quota has been exceeded. First, they include goods shipped against the 1980 quota which, because of the distance involved, did not enter the United Kingdom until early in 1981. Secondly, they included a substantial proportion of goods temporarily imported into the United Kingdom for processing and subsequent re-export outside the Community. Import statistics are not yet available for the whole of 1981, but in 1980 almost one half of the T-shirts imported from Taiwan fell into this category.