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Volume 977: debated on Wednesday 30 January 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will introduce unilateral action within the terms of the Treaty of Rome to restrict the import of men's and boys' wear, similar to that recently undertaken by France, Italy and Ireland on other textile goods, in view of the fact that over 50 per cent. of the men's outerwear market is for the first time taken by imports; if he will make a statement on the Government's attitude towards introducing such unilateral measures; and what evidence he requires in support of such action.

No. Restrictions on imports from other EEC member States would be contrary to the terms of the Treaty of Rome and would be illegal. No such restrictions have been imposed by France, Italy or Ireland. France does require certificates of origin for intra-Community trade in certain textile goods, but the Commission believes this requirement may also be contrary to the Treaty of Rome and has initiated infraction proceedings.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what are the terms of the present draft regulation on outward processing being considered within the EEC Commission; what are the views of the United Kingdom Government on the draft regulation as it stands at present; and what is the present timetable to which the European Commission is working for the approval or otherwise of the regulation.

The draft Commission regulation on outward processing is intended to establish a common regime for the administration of voluntary restraints on trade in outward processed clothing and textiles between the EEC and those Mediterranean countries with which the Community has preferential trade agreements. It would permit member States to give preference to manufacturers in allocating any special outward processing facilities. The draft regulation is still being discussed between the Commission and member States, and the United Kingdom is playing a constructive part in these discussions. No date has

Imports* as a percentage of United Kingdom consumption
Product group197912 months to 1970 June
Total manufacturing1726
Food and drink‡1817
Coal and petroleum products1715
Chemicals and allied industries1830
Metal manufacture1923
Mechanical engineering‡1931
Instrument engineering3457
Electrical engineering1837
Shipbuilding and marine engineering4342
Metal goods not elsewhere specified‡613
Leather and leather goods‡2136
Clothing and footwear1229
Bricks, pottery, glass cement etc.610
Timber, furniture etc. ‡2628
Paper, printing and publishing1920
Other manufacturing industries918
Source: Business Monitor MQ12.
* Imports include re-imports and imports for re-export and thus tend to overstate the value of imports intended for United Kingdom consumption.
†For the major statistical aggregates, especially total manufacturing, there is an element of double-counting in the measurement of United Kingdom consumption which tends to understate the share taken by imports. Nevertheless changes over time should provide a reasonable indication of trends.
‡A few product groups are omitted from the table because suitable data are not available.