HC Deb 18 February 1992 vol 204 cc132-3W
Mr. Kirkwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what controls exist to monitor and prevent dumping of cashmere garments imported into the EC/United Kingdom from Mongolia;

(2) what access Mongolia has to EC and United Kingdom domestic markets for importation of Mongolian cashmere garments.

Mr. Sainsbury

[holding answer 17 February 1992]At present 10 member states maintain an embargo on a range of Mongolian garments, including pullovers, under the European Community's autonomous regime for state trading countries. Portugal has no such restrictions and therefore does not monitor the imports, Germany has a quota of 23,000 pieces for pullovers, monitored by import licensing, under which 1,260 fine animal hair products were imported in the first 10 months of 1991. As regards dumping, as with all other industrial products it is open to the Community industry concerned to present a case for anti-dumping action to the European Commission.

Mr. Kirkwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what claims for compensation are available to the United Kingdom manufacturers of fine animal hair pullovers where overshipment occurs;

(2) whether he will consider taking steps for the imposition of a complete embargo on Chinese cashmere garments (a) into the EC and (b) into the United Kingdom until agreed quota figures for previous years have been met;

(3) what representations he proposes to make to the EC authorities and the GATT authorities to investigate and remedy overshipment of Chinese cashmere garments into the EC/United Kingdom markets; what steps he is taking to prepare a case for compensation for overshipment of such garments; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sainsbury

[holding answer 17 February 1992]Management of the EC/China multi-fibre arrangement textiles agreement is the responsibility of the European Commission and member states. In November last year we asked the Commission to investigate the apparent overshipment of the quota for Chinese fine animal hair pullovers in 1990 and 1991. There are no formal rules for dealing with compensation in cases of this sort, but we have specifically asked the Commission to address this aspect. In the past, overshipments have been compensated for by deducting an equivalent amount from the quota for the following year for that product. The measures appropriate in the present case will have to be decided once the outcome of the Commission's investigation is known. In the meantime, the Commission has already accepted our proposal for a new quota anagement system to tighten up controls.

Mr. Kirkwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the customs returns showing the numbers of cashmere garments imported into the EC, and into the United Kingdom, from China for each of the last five years for which figures are available, together with the relevant numbers permitted under the GATT bilateral quotas for the same years.

Mr. Sainsbury

[holding answer 17 February 1992]Cashmere garments cannot be separately identified in customs import data. The quota in the EC/China MFA bilateral agreement which specifically applies to fine animal hair products is for pullovers and similar goods, whether made of cashmere, angora, mohair or other fine animal hairs.

The quota levels and the EC and United Kingdom import levels for these goods in the past five years are as follows:

Year EC quota EC imports1 United Kingdom share of quota United Kingdom imports1
1987 55,680 87,540 12,400 20,740
1988 57,910 123,214 12,900 1,990
1989 90,000 50,312 20,000 2,000
1990 94,000 238,728 21,000 4,151
1991 97,000 399,184 22,000 8,615
1 Import figures may include traditional Chinese products which fall outside quota.

Source: Eurostat.