asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce the volume of imports of (a) wooden manufactured articles and (b) furniture, in each of the years 1975 and 1976; if the significant increase which was apparent in 1976 has had any effect on the Irish joinery industry; and, if so, if he will investigate the possibility that dumping has been taking place.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Joinery Industry.
The official import statistics relating to "wood and cork manufactures" contain a large range of items such as veneer sheets, blockboard, reconstituted wood, wood paving blocks, match splints, and so on which are not produced by the joinery industry. Imports of "builders' woodwork and prefabricated buildings" increased from 2.0m. kg., value £1.0m., in 1975 to 2.8m. kg., value £1.5m., in 1976. Imports of "furniture" increased from 10.6m. kg., value £8.8m., in 1975 to 13.0m. kg., value £12.0m., in 1976. On the other hand exports of "builders' woodwork and prefabricated buildings" increased from 4.0m. kg., value £1.8m., in 1975 to 11.5m. kg., value £4.1m., in 1976. Exports of "furniture" increased from 5.8m. kg., value £4.4m., in 1975 to 6.5m. kg., value £7.4m., in 1976. I am told by the Industrial Development Authority that a survey carried out by them indicates that in the wood and furniture sector there had been some increase in employment between the 1st January, 1976, and the 1st January, 1977. An Coimisiún Dumpála will investigate any complaints of dumping received and I understand that An Coimisiún are at present investigating a complaint in regard to flush doors.
I gather from the Parliamentary Secretary's reply that there had been a 50 per cent increase in imports between 1975 and 1976. Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there is concern in the two major manufacturing units, Cappincur in Tullamore and GWI in Sligo, about the importation of wooden manufactured articles interfering with their business? Is he aware that the employment potential has been reduced in those areas?
I have no information on the areas referred to by the Deputy but there has been an increase in trade in this area. While there has been an increase in imports there has also been an equivalent increase in exports. There has also been a slight increase in employment in this sector as a whole in the past year. That is not to say that there may not be problems in individual areas and if the Deputy wishes me to pursue the problems of individual firms I will do so.
Am I to take it from the Parliamentary Secretary's reply that he has no worries about the future of Cappincur and GWI?
The Deputy should not read that into what I said. My statement related to the sector as a whole and I indicated that there had been a slight increase in employment in the sector as a whole. I specifically stated that that was not to say that there may not be problems in particular areas.