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Textile Imports

Volume 35: debated on Tuesday 18 January 1983

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asked the Minister for Trade what action he has taken subsequent to the recommendation by the Select Committee on European Legislation for a debate on the EEC proposals for a Council regulation on common rules for imports of certain textile products originating in third countries and for a Council regulation maintaining the arrangements for imports into the Community of textile products originating in Taiwan.

The proposals in question were received by my Department on 10 and 9 December 1982, respectively. Explanatory memoranda on them were submitted on Monday 13 December 1982. The final negotiations of the bilateral agreements under MFA3 were concluded only on 13 December 1982. I made a statement to the House on the consequences on 14 December 1982. The Scrutiny Committee considered the proposals on 15 December 1982.The current bilateral textiles agreements expired on 31 December 1982. In order to avoid a hiatus in the United Kingdom textile and clothing industry's protection against low-cost imports, I believed it essential that the new bilateral agreements should enter into force with effect from 1 January. For this to happen, the proposed regulation had to be adopted by the Council of Ministers before the end of last year which, in effect, meant adoption at the final 1982 meeting of the Council on 21 December.Similarly, the proposed Taiwan regulation provides for new quotas—until the end of June 1983—on all the products of which Taiwan is a significant supplied to the United Kingdom and paves the way for their continuation until the end of 1986. It was equally essential that this regulation should be adopted before the end of 1982 if there was to be no hiatus between the expiry of the present quotas on Taiwan on 31 December 1982 and the entry into force of the new quotas.In these circumstances, I felt obliged to give Government approval for the regulation to be adopted before the end of last year. I very much regret that these special circumstances did not leave time for the proposals to be debated before their adoption.