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Textile And Clothing Industries

Volume 984: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what steps he has taken to identify the extent of existing outward processed trade in textiles and clothing goods; and what steps he has taken to suggest amendments to import forms, and production inquiries for the textiles and clothing industries, and importers, prior to the approval of the European Commission's draft regulation on outward processing;(2) if he has considered both the direct and indirect effects of the draft regulation on outward processed trade on the textiles and clothing industry in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement on the indirect effects of the proposal.

The draft regulation on outward processing will establish an administrative framework for separate quotas for outward processed traffic with the Mediterranean countries. The United Kingdom Government have no current plans to establish any such quotas, so the question of special arrangements to administer them does not at present arise. In the absence of such quotas the regulation will have no direct effect on the United Kingdom industry. I would not expect any significant indirect effect, from new administrative arrangements in other member States, either. Separate statistics for outward processed trade from the United Kingdom are not available.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, in the light of his answers to the hon. Member for Batley and Morley on 30 November 1979 and 13 March 1980, what are the reasons for the recent increase in time taken for completion of textile and clothing dumping investigations; and what steps he intends to take to assist industry in the completion of the European Commission's dumping questionnaire, and to place pressure on the European Commission to give priority to textile and clothing dumping investigations.

The single case referred to in my answer given to the hon. Member on 30 November 1979 was of unusual complexity in view of the nature of the products involved. It would be wrong to draw generalised conclusions from one case. I do not believe that it would be right to place pressure on the European Commission to give priority to textile and clothing investigations at the expense of the legitimate interests of other sectors of industry. The Commission is well aware of the importance which my right hon. Friend and I attach to the speedy conclusion of all investigations. To that end my officials are always ready to give what assistance they can to any United Kingdom industry faced with dumping problems.