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Textiles, clothing and footwear



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M E D IA RELEASE M E D IA RELEASE

KEVIN NEWMAN MP MINISTER FOR ADMINISTRATIVE SERy|p6| S

TEXTILES, CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR

' The Minister for Administrative Services, the

Hon. Kevin Newman, M.P., and the Minister for Industry

and Commerce, the Hon. Andrew Peacock, M.P., announced today

the Government's acceptance of the November 1982 report of

the Textiles, Clothing and Footwear Advisory Committee.

The Ministers recognised that, like other sectors,

current business conditions for the textiles, clothing and

footwear industries are difficult and that retrenchments

have occurred. The Government had already announced on 7

December 1982 a package of assistance measures designed to

bolster activity and employment in manufacturing industry

generally. Elements of this package, for example the

reintroduction of a Government purchasing preference for

Australian goods, were a direct response to representations

made, amongst others, by Australian TCF interests.

The Ministers said that a number of matters

arising from the Committee's report would be pursued.

This should help ensure the continued effectiveness of the

assistance arrangements for Australian textiles, clothing

and footwear manufacturers.

Broadbanding of quota categories had been one

matter of concern to Australian producers, the Ministers

said. The Committee had noted that the broadbanding for

tender purposes of pantyhose and socks and tights had the

potential to disrupt local production of socks and tights.

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The Committee foreshadowed consideration of changes to

this category at its March/April hearings next year should

it become clear that disruption in 1984 and beyond was

clearly probable.

Having considered the Committee's findings the

Ministers have decided that if official data for the 1982

year confirm the situation identified by the Committee action

will be promptly taken to split the quota category to align

with base categories for 1984 and subsequent years.

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The Committee reported that there was some concern

that speculation had forced up the price of tender quota to

the disadvantage of genuine importers. Ministers noted

that the Customs Act required successful tenderers to give

an undertaking to import against their tender quota allocation.

Ministers said that the ability to transfer tender quota

should importers' circumstances change was an integral' part

of the flexibility provisions of the program and should not

be withdrawn. Nevertheless the Department of Industry and

Commerce has been asked to develop procedures to prevent l

transfer of tender quota holdings which had. clearly been

acquired for speculative purposes. .

The Ministers said that the exemption from quota

of footwear with a value for duty of less than $1 was an '

issue of general concern to the footwear industry. The

Committee had recommended the full exploration of allegations

of price averaging, non-genuine costing and dumping in this

area. Ministers have decided matters such as alleged

dumping should be resolved before any changes to the

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assistance arrangements can be contemplated. The Department

of Industry and Commerce has been requested to give these

matters close attention,and the Committee will be asked to

examine the matter again at its March/April hearings next

year in the light of Departmental investigations.

The Ministers noted that imports of parkas and

ski jackets more than doubled in the first half of 1982

compared with the same-period of the previous year. The

Committee had observed that there could be circumvention of

quota controls on woven coats and it may be necessary to

regulate imports of parkas and ski jackets. The Ministers

said that one option was to refine the definition ">f parkas

to exclude goods directly competitive with woven coats

subject to quota while continuing to allow the genuine parka

to be imported outside of quota. Interested parties are

invited to forward their suggestions for, or comments onfa

revised' definition to the Department of Industry and

Commerce to assist a prompt resolution of this matter.

The Committee had observed that there was some

justification for periodic adjustments to the $8 footwear

quota demarcation line throughout the life of the program

to avoid distortions; and that the lightweight woven fabric

concession and imports of industrial overalls would continue

to be closely monitored. Ministers have requested

Departments to continue to give full attention to these

matters in close consultation with industry and commerce.

A number of matters had been raised repeatedly

before the Committee and this may be generating uncertainty.

4.

The Ministers said that although the Government was prepared

to consider varying provisions of the new program this

would only be when it was necessary to ensure the program's

objectives were met. Accordingly Ministers had decided

to minimise such uncertainty by reaffirming that unless

compelling new evidence is brought forward the following

provisions will continue unchanged,

- quota validity periods will continue to be on

a calendar year basis

- there will be no automatic extension of

quota validity .

- no additional provisions will be introduced

for further broadbanding of or for swings

between quota categories; and

- the 86 cm threshold will continue to apply to

categories associated with childrens apparel.

The Ministers said that some manufacturing

interests had sought roll-backs of quota levels for 1983,

although this request had been opposed by retailers,

importers and certain other manufacturers. The Advisory

Committee after considering the various issues involved

had concluded that it would be inappropriate for it to

recommend such changes to 1983 levels.

The Ministers said that the new program of

assistance provides a balance between the often conflicting

interests of those" involved in the industry including

manufacturers, importers, retailers, consumers and our

trading partners.

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5.

No assistance system can entirely satisfy all

interests but many major textiles, clothing and footwear

industry organisations and commercial interests have

stressed the importance of continuing a reasonably

predictable policy environment.

The Ministers noted that the new program already

provides the textiles, clothing and footwear industries

with substantial levels of assistance. In addition,

quota levels for. 1983 are below the relatively high import

levels of 1981-82 for the majority of quota categories.

Any action to reduce 1983 quota levels further would

constitute a departure from basic principles of the program

and could endanger the predictable policy framework essential

to the program's success.

However, Ministers assured the industry that the

Government would be especially conscious of prevailing

economic circumstances when considering the Committee's

findings concerning 1984 quota arrangements.

Contact Officer: Virginia Stretton

Phone : 702474

Protection Policy A Branch

CANBERRA A.C.T.

21 December 1982