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Textiles And Clothing Industries

Volume 984: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Industy if he has yet received any representations, assessments, or studies from any textile or clothing trade association, economic development council, or trade union, on the effect on United Kingdom industry of accession of Greece, Spain and Portugal to the European Community; if the Government have instituted a deadline for the submission of any such representations, assessments or studies; and if he will make a statement on the present state of negotiations and discussions in relation to these industries.

On assessments and studies, I refer the hon. Member to my answers on 12 February—[Vol. 978, c. 579–80]—and 17 March—[Vol. 981, c. 52–53]

We have received repeated representations from most parts of the textiles and clothing industry, and the unions, about the problems likely to be caused for the United Kingdom industry as a result of enlargement of the Community. No deadline has been set by the Government for the submission of any representations, assessments or studies on this subject, nor is one contemplated.

As far as Greece is concerned, the Treaty of Accession has already been signed. There is a general safeguard provision enabling the Commission to authorise member States to take appropriate measures in the event of imports causing serious disruption during the transitional period. In the case of Spain and Portugal we are pressing in the Community for specific transitional arrangements to be secured for textiles and clothing before the treaties of accession are concluded.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will urge the European Commission to make immediate and sufficient financial resources available to enable the establishment of a European textile and clothing information system.

Financial provision for a textile information system was sought by the EEC Commission in its 1980 budget proposals. However, since the budget as a whole has been rejected by the European Parliament, the final content of the budget cannot yet be decided. Also, no formal proposals for a policy decision on the textile information system have yet been put by the Commission to the Council. Any such proposals would be considered carefully by Her Majesty's Government on their merits.