asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on a recent document from the Commission setting out guidelines for textile and clothing industry policy.
The EEC Commission has put forward a paper to the Council setting out proposals for general guidelines for adapting the textile and clothing industries of the Community to the conditions of international competition. The Commission considers that there should first be consultation with industry, trade unions and national Governments to help identify the problems and the specific measures that might be required. Her Majesty's Government agree that no EEC policy can possibly be reached without the fullest prior consultation.The Commission should be in no doubt that the British Government attaches great importance to the textile and clothing industry in this country. Modernisation has been assisted under the wool textile and clothing industry schemes under section 8 of the Industry Act, and by the normal forms of regional financial assistance. Her Majesty's Government pressed hard within the Community for a satisfactory outcome to the Multi-Fibre Arrangement negotiations last year, and will continue to support the industry by seeking to ensure effective implementation of the arrangements on trade in textiles and clothing agreed by the Council of Ministers in December. We are entitled of Ministers in December. We are entitled honoured by the Commission.The Government are determined that the interests of the United Kingdom industry should be fully taken into account and it remains committed to maintaining a strong and viable industry in this country.