The French government has agreed in principle to a series of measures to help producers in the textle, clothing and footwear sectors to better cope with the effects of higher imports from the Far East. It will be easier for them to offer to obtain government aid for temporary layoffs and for pre-retirement schemes for their workers. The government will also help finance special training programs of up to two years for the older workers and those who are being affected by foreign competition, either to continue to work in the same company or to switch to another sector. Meanwhile, French producers are debating proposals to encourage innovation in the industry and to use common facilities in France, with help from the government, but nothing concrete has come out of the initial discussions. These ideas were going to be discussed at a joint industry meeting during the MIDEC show in Paris early next month, but officials of the French shoe industry association, Chaussures de France, have decided to postpone it to a later date.