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Volume 978: debated on Wednesday 13 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) in view of the artificially low price of Romanian suits imported into the United Kingdom, which is adding to the redundancies in the menswear industry, and the unwillingness of the Commission to operate the multifibre arrangement price clause, if he will seek to take unilateral measures to stop imports;

  • (2) in view of their disruptive effect on the clothing industry, what steps he proposes to take, either nationally or through the EEC, to exercise strict control at the Customs point to prevent the dumping of goods whose prices are fixed in relation to currency needs and not the costs of production such as those from COME-CON countries.
  • (3) what plans he now has to introduce compulsory origin marking legislation as favoured by many United Kingdom clothing manufacturers, to help stop the growth in unfair and fraudulent trading practices.
  • asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, during the impending review of the European Community's generalised scheme of preferences, he will seek to remedy the situation in which newly industrialised countries which are highly developed and fiercely competitive in the textile and clothing sector enjoy high preferences under the scheme but, with the exception of Hong Kong, impose high tariff barriers against British exports.

    In the case of most textile and clothing products, the total amounts that can be imported from these countries, whether under the GSP or paying the Community tariff, are subject to strict quantitative limitation. Further, the new GSP arrangements for textiles and clothing introduced on 1 January this year set new and more restrictive limits on the preferences available to the most advanced and competitive suppliers.