Wednesday, 19 November 1958
Seanad Éireann Debate
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. S. Lemass): Full information regarding these four Orders is contained in the explanatory memorandum  which has already been circulated to Senators. As the House is aware, Orders made by the Minister under the Control of Imports Act cease to have effect on the expiration of six months from the date on which they are made, unless approved by each House of the Oireachtas by resolution.
The first of these Orders to be confirmed, relating to Quota Order No. 45, made a technical amendment in the quota for cotton cloths. It removed from the scope of the quota certain printed cloths which became liable to duty under an Order recently made applying to printed cloths generally.
The second and third Orders to be confirmed, relating to Quota Order No. 45 which concerns cotton piece goods, and Quota Order No. 13, which concerns woven woollen, synthetic and artificial fabrics, were designed to stop some minor evasions of control which emerged during the past year.
Mr. McGuire: I just want to say a complimentary word on this occasion in connection with these Orders. In the past, when these Orders were discussed, I have complained against Irish manufacturers protected under these quotas. In order to get an import licence for any commodity which was manufactured here and which was protected, it was necessary to get a letter from the manufacturer saying that he could not, in fact, manufacture the goods in question. I am sorry to say that in the past it has been very hard to get quite a number of manufacturers to make this admission, at least in writing. I am happy to say that I have been informed that in our trade the manufacturers are co-operating now very fairly; they quite forthrightly and quickly state that they cannot in fact supply the goods, thereby enabling the importer to import freely. I think that is a good thing.
Under one of these Orders, the Minister appears to have introduced a new system, a system I consider a  reasonable one, for the allocation of licences. Under the cotton Order, an importer is given an alternative; first, he can import in the ordinary way and pay the duty or, secondly, if he buys a certain quantity of material from a particular Irish factory, he is given a free licence for quite a considerable quantity of goods. That is a sensible loosening of what was a rather rigid system in the past and I should like to congratulate the Minister on that amelioration.
Mr. S. Lemass: Personally, I should always strongly prefer the system under which a quota import licence is related to purchases from Irish mills. That, however, is not always practicable because sometimes a quota import licence is intended to deal with a situation where the definition in the Quota Order is wider than was intended for technical reasons and catches certain commodities which were never intended to be subjected to protection at all. The intention of the Quota Order is to relate imports to production in the Irish mills, and the establishment of a definite relationship between the total to be imported and the total ordered from the Irish mills is a desirable procedure.
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