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Industry Restraint Agreements

Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he will list those voluntary industry restraint agreements which have been terminated as a result of Government pressure, referred to by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Corporate Affairs, the hon. Member for Warwickshire, North (Mr. Maude) on 18 March Official Report, column 1365, and those which remain.

The Government have informed the industries concerned that it sees no case for continuing inter-industry voluntary restraint arrangements (VRAs) covering the following products:

Monochrome televisions from Singapore, Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Thailand;
Colour televisions from Japan, Singapore, Republic of Korea and Taiwan;
Music centres from Japan, Republic of Korea and Taiwan;
Pottery from Japan;
Stainless steel cutlery from Japan and Republic of Korea.
Separately, restraints on imports of pottery and footwear from Taiwan have lapsed.We are aware that voluntary arrangements at present remain for fork-lift trucks, machining centres, numerically controlled lathes, cars and commercial vehicles from Japan; and special steels from Spain. The United Kingdom industry is discussing the renewal of arrangements on footwear with the Republic of Korea.

The European Commission has negotiated a number of restraint agreements on steel and, in addition to the multifibre arrangement, on certain limited textile and clothing products. A number of other arrangements with Japan were brought to an end in 1985. On behalf of the United Kingdom the Commission has negotiated restraints on leather footwear from certain eastern European countries.