asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will circulate in the Official Report a summary of the cartel arrangements for man-made fibres which were declared illegal by the European Economic Community Commission; whether these arrangements were registerable and registered under the Restrictive Trade Practices Acts; whether they had the express or implicit approval of Her Majesty's Government at official or ministerial level; and what steps he has taken to ensure that there is no collusion between producers of any description to regulate trade in man-made fibres.
Certain major European producers of synthetic fibres entered into an agreement in 1978 to reduce surplus production capacity. Following objections by the European Commission to certain aspects of the agreement—notably provisions for production and sales quotas—revised agreements have been submitted to the Commission. The Government are concerned to see a solution to the serious problem of over-capacity in synthetic fibres in Europe, but any such proposal must comply with the relevant competition legislation. The registration of agreements under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 is the responsibility of the Director General of Fair Trading.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether the United Kingdom producers of man-made fibres and carpets belong to an European Economic Community or European study group or other organisation concerned wholly or mainly with their products; if so, what are the purposes of these organisations; and whether he is satisfied that they have not led to a restriction of competition within the United Kingdom in terms which would be registerable under United Kingdom legislation.
As far as I am aware, British producers of man-made fibres and carpets do not belong directly to any European organisation concerned wholly or mainly with their products, but most belong to their national trade associations. These in turn belong to their European counterparts, the Comité International de la Rayonne et des Fibres Synthetiques and the Confederation Internationale des Fabricants de Tapis et des Tissus d'Emeublement. Both European organisations also belong to Comitextil, a European textile confederation. The purpose of these organisations is the examination and discussion of subjects of general interest to European manufacturers.Responsibility for the enforcement of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 lies with the Director General of Fair Trading.