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TA report on sheets, curtains, etc; and IAC report on fabrics for use as bed sheeting, pillow casing or bolster casing



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77/3

FOR PRESS

ΤΑ REPORT ON SHEETS. CURTAINS. ETC; AND

IAC REPORT ON FABRICS FOR USE AS BED

SHEETING, PILLOW CASING OR BOLSTER CASING

Senator Robert Cotton, Minister for Industry and

Commerce, and Mr John H o w a r d , Minister for Business and

Consumer Affairs announced today that the Government had

decided to -

. continue the tariff quota arrangements

on cotton sheeting and bed linen at

increased levels. Annual tariff quota

levels will be 30 million square metres of

cotton sheeting and $1.5 million value for

duty of bed linen:

. continue admitting polyester/cotton sheeting

in the grey for the printing of bed sheeting

under by-law:

. make bounty payments of 20 cents per square

metre up to an annual maximum of $500,000

to Australian producers weaving and printing

polyester/cotton sheeting: and

. discontinue the tariff quotas on curtains

and knitted or crocheted net fabrics.

The Government took these decisions following

advice received from the Textiles Authority in its report on

Sheets, Curtains, E t c . , and from the Industries Assistance

Commission in its interim report on Fabrics for use as Bed

Sheeting, Pillow Casing or Bolster Casing.

2.

' The Ministers said that these measures were in the

nature of short-term assistance pending Government decisions

on the long-term levels of assistance to be accorded the

manufacture of these goods. The question of long-term

assistance for these and a wide range of other textile and

apparel items is currently under review by the Industries

Assistance Commission.

In the case of cotton sheeting and bed linen the

Textiles Authority noted that although imports of unraised

cotton sheeting and bed linen had declined markedly since

the introduction of tariff quotas, local production has remained

at a low le v e l . However there had been some improvement in the

employment and forward order position early in 1976. The

Authority considered that in the absence of some form of

control, imports would threaten serious damage to the local

industry. However based on its assessment of demand for

1976-77 the Authority considered a substantial increase in tariff

quotas would be necessary to avoid shortages and achieve an

appropriate balance between imports and local production. „

The level of tariff quotas which had applied represented a

substantial roll back in imports and the newly announced levels

are of the order of aggregate import levels of cotton sheeting

and bed linen in 1972-73. The Ministers drew attention to the

Authority's opinion expressed in its report that the increased

tariff quota levels should allow local production of sheeting

at a satisfactory level and also' prtivide sufficient supplies to

enable Australian firms which make up bed linen from imported

sheeting to operate satisfactorily. / '

3.

In recommending a bounty on the production■of

polyester/cotton sheeting in the g r e y , the Commission was

mindful of the likely increased costs to consumers if changes

were made to the present tariff position. The bounty will be

paid to p e r s o n s , companies or organisations which weave, print

and use the fabric for the making up of bed linen each in their

own manufacturing establishments in Australia and should enable

the major local w e a v e r , ACTIL, to compete against firms printing

imported polyester/cotton grey cloth sheeting without

disadvantaging such printers who will continue to be able to

import this grey cloth on a duty free by-law basis.

The Ministers said that the allocation of tariff quotas

for cotton sheeting and bed linen, which will be made immediately,

would cover the period 6 June 1976 to 31 August 1977 and

adjustments would be made to quotas to take account of issues

already made covering this period. Prior to 1 September 1977 a

further six-months allocation of 50% of current annual- levels

will be made for the period after 31 August 1977.

In the case of curtains and knitted or crocheted

net fabrics, :the Textiles Authority found that imports had

fallen substantially since tariff quotas were applied in

June 1975 and that a large part of the available quota had been

unused. The Authority also found that production, employment

and forward orders have increased,while stocks have been reduced.

It considered that there was no longer a serious threat of damage

from imports and hence recommended removal of the tariff quotas.

The Ministers said that any above quota duty which had been paid

on these goods after 5 June 1976 would be refunded to importers.

Copies of the reports of the Textiles Authority

4.

and Industries Assistance Commission are available at Australian

Government Publishing Service retail bookshops in each of the

capital cities.

CANBERRA A.C.T.

3 0 January 1977