Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 19 Jun 1980

Vol. 322 No. 7

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Carpet Imports.


andMr. Bruton asked the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism if he has received complaints of low cost carpet imports from the USA disrupting the UK carpet market to the detriment of Irish carpet exports; if he will raise the matter with the EEC authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I have not received specific complaints from industry about this matter but I am aware that Irish carpet exports to the UK have declined because of difficulties on that market, which have been attributed to some extent to imports of American synthetic tufted carpets. I do not believe that an approach to the EEC authorities on this subject would achieve any useful result. The EEC Commission recently authorised the United Kingdom to impose quota restrictions on imports of polyester yarn and nylon carpet yarn from a number of sources including the USA, but refused a similar British request in respect of synthetic tufted carpets.

Is the Minister satisfied that there are no artificial factors giving US carpet imports an advantage on the UK market over the Irish product, such as the artificially low energy prices obtaining in the US?

The volume of imports of tufted carpets from the US to the UK market is very small and, according to information we received from the Commission, amounted to only 3.7 per cent of the UK market in 1979. The evidence available to the Commission seems to indicate that the sale price of US synthetic tufted carpet is at a higher level than other imports to Britain from Community countries. While undoubtedly the US manufacturers have certain advantages, it seems that the common external tariff plus, presumably, the cost of carriage outweigh these advantages and they do not create major difficulties on the UK market.

If this is so, to what does the Minister attribute the problems which the Irish carpet industry is now facing in regard to exports?

Lack of demand on the British market, mainly.

Question No. 27 for written reply.