Skip to main content

Textile Industry

Volume 983: debated on Wednesday 23 April 1980

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has studied the comments on the effect on the British knitwear industry of the high level of the £ sterling as contained in the annual report of the Leicester and District Hosiery Manufacturers' Association, a copy of which has been sent to him by the hon. Member for Melton; and whether he proposes to discuss these problems with the industry.

Yes. I have had a number of meetings and extensive correspondence with representatives of the knitwear industry. I also visited Leicester on 2 April with my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Employment and had a full programme of visits and discussions with representatives of the industry.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has studied the comments on the effect on British Jersey fabric knitters, and underwear manufacturers, as contained in the annual report of the Leicester and District Hosiery Manufacturers' Association, a copy of which has been sent to him by the hon. Member for Melton, on the possible entry into the EEC of Greece, Portugal and Spain; and what action he envisages to protect British interests in this regard.

Yes. The Greek Accession Treaty includes a safeguard clause which will enable action to be taken against disruptive imports during the transitional period. In the case of Spain and Portugal the United Kingdom is seeking more specific arrangements to cover trade in textiles, and there will also be safeguard clauses in the accession treaties.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will make a statement on imports of Shetland wool fully-fashioned pullovers into the United Kingdom from Mauritius; what is the present level of penetration of the United Kingdom market of this product; what current arrangements exist for surveillance or quotas; and what action he is taking to ensure that all pullovers described as made in Mauritius were actually made there.

The European Community has concluded a two-year agreement with Mauritius under which her exports to the United Kingdom of four categories of textile and clothing products have been made subject to voluntary restraints. There are no formal quotas. Estimated Mauritian penetration of the United Kingdom Shetland wool pullover market in 1979 is approximately 40 per cent. In 1979 exports to the United Kingdom of jerseys, pullovers, and so on, amounted to 4·3 million pieces. The agreement specifies that exports must not exceed 3·2 million pieces in 1980 and 3 million in 1981. Import statistics are monitored by the Department of Industry to ensure that the voluntary arrangement is adhered to. An investigation carried out last year produced no evidence that jerseys imported from Mauritius were not of genuine Mauritian origin.