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Prato Wool Cloth Industry

Volume 974: debated on Wednesday 21 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) on what date his Department submitted to the EEC Commission a formal request for an inquiry into alleged and unfair subsidisation of the woollen industry in Prato, Italy, what was the date of the last communication he received from the EEC Commission on this subject; what were the contents; what remains to be done to complete the inquiry; and when he expects a final decision to be made;

(2) what action he expectes before the end of the year following the investigation being carried out by the EEC Commission into the Prato wool cloth industry, as referred to by the Minister of State, Department of Trade, in the Official Report, column 1230, lines 14 and 15.

The first formal request to the EEC Commission for an examination of the low selling prices of woollen fabrics from Prato was dated 20 February 1979. The last letter from the EEC Commission was received on 11 September stating that the cost data sent to the Commission by the United Kingdom permanent representative had been examined and would be compared with information provided by the Italian authorities. Officials from the Commission would visit Yorkshire to examine the cost data in detail with representatives of the United Kingdom industry. The vsit is expected to take place in December. Further inquiries and the final results will depend upon the results of these detailed inquiries. But I assure the hon. Member that I shall keep up the pressure on the Commission to complete and act on this investigation as rapidly as possible.