1. The Joint Committee has considered the Commission’s proposal for a Council Decision adopting a second multiannual research and development programme for the EEC in the field of textiles and clothing (indirect action) [6150/79]. The proposal was examined by the Joint Committee’s Sub-Committee on Economic, Commercial and Financial Affairs under the Chairmanship of Senator Noel Mulcahy. The Joint Committee is indebted to Senator Mulcahy and his Sub-Committee for their work. The Sub-Committee consulted the Department of Economic Planning and Development, the National Board for Science and Technology and the Confederation of Irish Industry.
2. The proposal relates to a programme involving a series of research and development projects in the textile/clothing field, to be implemented by indirect action over a three-year period. This proposed programme is intended as a follow-up to a project which came to an end in December, 1978 It would be carried out in the form of a cost-sharing contract with Comitextil (the European Textile Federation) with the participation of national research bodies and of private industry. The Commission in carrying out the programme would be assisted by an advisory Committee.
3. The objective of the proposed programme is to improve and renew the techniques and technology of the Community textile industry to enable it to improve its competitive position in the face of the economic difficulties caused by the oil and raw materials crisis and the difficulties arising in international trade, more particularly with developing countries and State-trading countries selling their products at abnormally low prices.
Contents of the Programme
4. The research areas proposed are the following:—
(i) Garment physiology and construction,
(ii) Quality of knitted fabrics and knitwear articles,
(iii) Application of new spinning technologies in the wool industry,
(iv) Upgrading of linen,
(v) Pollution treatment and water recycling in textile finishing enterprises.
5. It is proposed that 50% of research costs (estimated at 8.25m. EUA) will be met from Community funds, the balance being met by the financial contributions of the textile organisations in the participating countries.
Views of the Joint Committee
6. The Joint Committee understands the proposed programme was worked out by the Commission in consultation with Comitextil, without the normal informal consultations which take place with Member States before proposals of this type emerge. Having regard to the understandings reached with the trade the Committee believes that it is now a question of either adopting or rejecting the programme as it stands. The Committee regrets this because the research areas proposed are such that no Irish firms or State research laboratories are in a position to participate. In the Committee’s view it would have been preferable if the programme had been orientated more directly towards the improvement of the productivity of the European textile industry which has to face severe competition from cheap imports from third countries. However if the programme is adopted as it stands the Committee hopes that the possibility of attracting some sub-contracting work from the UK laboratories participating in the programme will be borne in mind.
7. The Joint Committee wishes to thank the Confederation of Irish Industry for its invaluable help in examining the proposal.
(Signed) ALEXIS FITZGERALD,
Chairman of the Joint Committee.
19th December, 1979.