HC Deb 07 December 1908 vol 198 cc40-2

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will lay upon the Table of the House the new French tariff, so far as it has been published, and cause the same to be circulated among chambers of commerce in this country, in order that His Majesty's Government may be informed of the character of the representations which may most usefully be made to the French Government in the interests of British and Irish traders.

(Answered by Mr. Churchill.) The right hon. Gentleman may be assured that the subject of the projected new French tariff is receiving my careful attention, and that I shall not fail to consult the chambers of commerce through the Advisory Committee of the Board of Trade on Commercial Intelligence with regard to it when matters are further advanced. The new tariff proposals are those of the Customs Commission of the Chamber of Deputies and not of the French Government, and the Commission have up to the present only published a small portion of their recommendations. I understand, however, that their complete recommendations will shortly be made public and as soon as they are received I will see that they are laid upon the Table of the House.


To ask the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been drawn to the increased number of items separately tariffed under the proposed new french tariff, and to the finer differentiation and more extended classification which is characteristic of all revisions of foreign tariffs in recent years; and, seeing that these changes tend to annul the value of our mostfavoured-nation treaties, will he say what steps His Majesty's Government propose in order to regain the advantages in foreign markets which these treaties were designed to give us.

(Answered by Mr. Churchill.) I am aware of the tendency towards more minute classification of foreign tariffs. The subject raised in the last part of the Question is too wide and controversial to be dealt with in an answer to a question.


To ask the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been drawn to the proceedings of the Ways and Means Committee of the United States Congress on the subject of the tariff revision of that country, and especially to the declared policy of the Republican Party now in power to introduce a maximum and a minimum system of tariffs; and whether he can inform the House of the steps he proposes to take to acquaint himself with the probable effect of those changes on British and Imperial interests, and to make such representations as may be necessary to the proper authorities in the United States.

(Answered by Mr. Churchill.) My attention has been drawn to this matter, and I am already in communication with the principal chambers of commerce with regard to it.