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Volume 890: debated on Monday 14 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will use the power granted under EEC Regulation No. 1439/74 of 4th June 1974 on Common Rules for Imports to safeguard the interests of the British textile industry; and if he will make a statement.

Our powers to restrict imports are severely limited by our international obligations, notably the GATT and the GATT Multifibre Arrangements. Regulation 1439/74 neither creates special powers nor removes those limitations. I have already used the dispensation which it allows from our EEC obligations to introduce surveillance licensing covering a wide range of textile imports. These measures were announced in the House on 20th March 1975 during the debate on the textile industry by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Industry, and I have nothing to add to what he said then.