§ COLONEL SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can inform the House what has been the result, as regards British goods, of the first six months operation of the preferential terms granted on 1st August, 1898, by the Dominion of Canada to imports from the United Kingdom, India, the West Indies, and other parts of the British Empire; and, if the Governments of Australasia and South Africa or of any Crown Colonies have already or are likely, in the near future, to adopt the same system?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOB THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham West
The United Kingdom Trade Returns for the six months ended the 31st January 1899, show in respect of the exports to Canada of the chief enumerated articles an increase of a little over 1 per cent. over the figures for the period ended 31st January, 1898. If, however, the 434 exports during the month of July last, the greater part of which would have arrived in Canada under the preferential tariff, are taken into account, the increase would be a little over 6 per cent. The period is. however, too short, even if complete statistics were available, to form an accurate judgment of the effect of the preferential tariff on the trade between the United Kingdomand Canada. As regards other parts of the Empire to which the preferential tariff extends, statistics are available only for India, and these show a slight decrease, but the trade between Canada and India is so small and the period is so short that it is impossible to draw any conclusion from the figures. No other Colonial Government has as yet adopted the same system. As regards the future, I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave to a similar Question by the honourable Member on the 29th July last.