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Clothing And Textiles

Volume 229: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

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To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what assessment he has made of the effect on trade in clothing and textiles with the poorest third-world countries of the recent decision to lift quotas on clothing imports from countries of east and central Europe;(2) what steps he has taken to remove trade barriers on clothing and textiles;(3) what decisions taken at the G7 summit in Tokyo will improve the treatment of the poorest nations in the multi-fibre arrangement.

The Government have consistently worked for an early conclusion to the GATT Uruguay round of multilateral trade negotiations which would include the phasing out of the multi-fibre arrangement and of the associated quantitative restrictions maintained by the European Community and most other importing countries against exports of textiles and clothing from the main low-cost suppliers. The progress made in Tokyo on the Uruguay round in general has enabled multilateral negotiations to resume in Geneva and has greatly improved the prospects for a successful conclusions by the end of the year. As regards other trade barriers, the EC has recently concluded agreements with the Czech republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria providing for restrictions on imports of textiles and clothing into the EC to be removed over a five to six-year period. The Government do not expect this process to have any implications for the poorest developing countries, most of which already enjoy unlimited duty-free access to the EC and are not subject to any quota restrictions.