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Footwear (American Markets)

Volume 464: debated on Thursday 12 May 1949

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7.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will supply the boot and shoe industry with information as to the type of footwear of British make in demand in the American markets; and if the boot and shoe industry is assured of the quantity and quality of leather which will enable the increased export pairage to be produced.

The Board of Trade is always ready to provide exporters with the fullest available information about products in demand in the United States, Canada, and other markets. They are at present in close touch with the footwear industry about its plans for increased sales in North America. Every effort will continue to be made to supply the industry with the quantity and quality of leather necessary for increased exports to these markets.

How can the Minister expect boot manufacturers in this country to export large quantities of footwear to the United States when boot manufacturers here are paying 30 per cent. more for their leather than their competitors in the United States, owing to the Government's methods of bulk purchase?

I appreciate the difficulty, but I would ask the hon. Gentleman to understand that the difficulties of buying leather, particularly in countries like the Argentine, are very great indeed.

If the hon. Gentleman is not able to use plain English will he explain what he means by the extraordinary term to which my hon. and learned Friend called attention? What is the meaning of it?

Is not my hon. Friend aware that when a member of the boot and shoe trade asks a Question about that trade he uses the terms that are used in the trade?