HC Deb 13 May 1907 vol 174 cc622-3

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, during the present Colonial Conference, any offer has been made by any of the Colonial Premiers to admit British goods to any Colonial market upon terms of equality or approximate equality with goods produced in that Colony; and whether His Majesty's Ministers, in their negotiations with the Premiers, have given any pledge or undertaking which departs from the declaration made by the Secretary of State who presided over the Conference of 1902, that we cannot pay for any preference unless it enables us to enter the Colonial market upon terms of greater equality with the Colonial producer.


The Colonial Premiers have made it clear to His Majesty's Government that as their policy is to protect their home producers from British or foreign competition they cannot in any way reciprocate the free and unrestricted access accorded to them in the markets of Great Britain. His Majesty's Government, on the other hand, are not prepared to place new taxes upon foreign imports into the United Kingdom for the purpose of affording any further advantage to the self-governing Colonies. No question has arisen of balancing a change in the Colonial policy of protection against a change in the free trade policy of the United Kingdom.