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Tuesday, 18 April 1961

Mr McEWEN (MURRAY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Trade) - The answer is, " No ". No request has been made to me or to the

Department of Trade for any action to be taken presumably in respect of imports of knitwear. This section of the textile industry is well organized. It knows, as does the organization of which it is a member, the Chamber of Manufactures, that there exists a system of industry groups which appoint panels to present their case to the Department of Trade. I understand that there has been no approach to my department along these recognized lines for at least six months. Indeed, in Sydney recently, I met one spokesman for the knitwear industry on the textile council, and it was not then put to me that imports were a problem. But I give the honorable member these figures in relation to knitted underwear: In the last complete year there were imports of 7,000 dozen items of knitted underwear and a local production of just on 2,000,000 dozen items. In the first seven months of this year the import rate rose to 14,000 dozen a year but local production increased 260,000 dozen to an annual rate of nearly 2,300,000 dozen.

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