Skip to main content

Footwear And Textile Industries

Volume 176: debated on Wednesday 18 July 1990

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

36.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a further statement on the current state of the footwear and textile industries.

Both industries continue to experience mixed fortunes with varying performance in different product areas. I am pleased to note, however, that exports of footwear reached record levels in volume terms in the 12 months to March 1990, with exports of 25 million pairs of footwear, an increase of over 10 per cent. in volume and 12 per cent. in value terms. Exports of textiles and clothing products also rose by 14 per cent. by volume and 18 per cent. by value between the first quarters of 1989 and 1990.

55.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he next expects to meet his European counterparts to discuss the textile industry.

61.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he next expects to meet his European counterparts to discuss the textile industry.

69.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he next expects to meet his European counterparts to discuss the textile industry.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State expects to meet his EC colleagues on several occasions during the course of this year to discuss progress in the Uruguay round of multilateral trade negotiations, which cover the future of trade in textiles and clothing.

108.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the current state of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade textiles talks on the future of the multi-fibre arrangement.

The chairman of the GATT negotiating group on textiles and clothing has produced a chairman's report for consideration by the trade negotiations committee in Geneva next week. This is designed to take into account various negotiating positions and therefore contains a significant number of alternative options. Many of these differences of view are unlikely to be resolved until nearer the end of the negotiations in December, but the European Community will continue to press for a progressive phaseout of the MFA over a transitional period and on the basis of strengthened GATT rules and disciplines.

112.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the level of imports of footwear from the far east.

Figures for the first four months of the year show an increase of 5 per cent. in imports of footwear from the far east compared with the same period in 1989. The footwear industry, as my hon. Friend is aware, has been seeking action by the European Community to restrict imports from Korea and Taiwan. In regulation 1735/90 published on 27 June the European Commission introduced prior surveillance of most footwear imports from these sources. The Regulation also refers to undertakings by Korea and Taiwan to limit their exports to traditional trade flows within specified quantitative limits. The licensing system will provide early warning of the level of imports.

142.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take steps to ensure that no unilateral concessions will be made by the European Economic Community without agreement by the other countries on strengthening of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade rules and disciplines in relation to the multi-fibre arrangement; and if he will make a statement.

The European Community, with United Kingdom support, is continuing to press strongly for the liberalisation of trade in textiles to be accompanied by the strengthening of GATT rules and disciplines and the opening of producer markets. The Community will need to take a view before the end of the Round on the acceptability of the likely final package. In the meantime the Community needs to play an active part in shaping the framework agreement on trade in textiles and the Government will work to ensure that any proposals put forward properly reflect United Kingdom and Community interests.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations he has received from the textile and clothing industries about barriers to United Kingdom exports; if he will pursue the reduction of such barriers in the Uruguay round negotiations; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers in my Department frequently receive representations from the textile industry about foreign barriers to United Kingdom exports, both directly and through hon. Members. It is one of the EC's main aims in the Uruguay round to achieve a reduction by all parties in their tariff and non-tariff barriers and we are pursuing this vigorously in the negotiations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he next expects to meet his counterparts from other European Community countries to discuss trade in textiles and clothing; if he will take steps to ensure that integration of this trade into the normal rules of the general agreement on tariffs and trade takes place only on the basis of strengthened rules and disciplines; and if he will press for a transition period for such integration sufficiently long to demonstrate the effectiveness of these strengthened rules and disciplines in removing distorted conditions of trade.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State expects to meet his EC colleagues on several occasions during this year to discuss progress in the Uruguay round of multilateral trade negotiations. The EC, while committed to returning trade in textiles and clothing to GATT rules, is continuing with United Kingdom support to press strongly for this liberalisation to be accompanied by the strengthening of GATT rules and disciplines. The idea of a transitional period for returning textiles trade to GATT is accepted in the negotiations. Its length has yet to be determined and in any discussions the United Kingdom will have regard to the arrangements for strengthening rules and disciplines as well as the need to ensure that the benefits of liberalisation are not unduly delayed.