HC Deb 02 September 1909 vol 10 cc581-2

asked whether, before the United States Tariff Act came into force, the import duty on spirits imported into the United States from the United Kingdom was $2.25 per proof gallon, whereas similar spirits imported from France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland were subject to a duty of $1.75 per proof gallon; and whether this differentiation is consistent with the treaty of 1815, by which the United States agreed to extend most-favoured-nation treatment to this country?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Churchill)

The facts are as stated in the first part of the question. The differentiation mentioned will, however, come to an end with the termination of the Reciprocity Agreements between the United States and the countries named, notice of which has already been given in accordance with the new tariff law. As the hon. Member is aware, the United States Government has always held that the most-favoured-nation clause in the Treaty of 1815 does not apply in the casa of reductions of tariff duties specially accorded under reciprocity agreements with other nations in return for a consideration. I am not to be understood to imply that His Majesty's Government agree with this interpretation.