HC Deb 06 March 1911 vol 22 cc803-4

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether a provisional arrangement was come to between Germany and Canada last year providing for the renewal of negotiations with a view to an extended trade treaty; if so, whether any steps had been taken in that direction by the Governments of Germany or Canada; would the lower duties in both the Canadian and United States tariffs which are proposed by the reciprocity agreement also be extended to Germany; and, if not, to what extent would the position of Germany be affected in the markets of those two countries?


The Agreement concluded in February, 1910, between Canada and Germany was a provisional one, and the question of a general Convention for the regulation of commercial relations between Canada and Germany was deferred for consideration at a time that might be found mutually convenient. I am not aware that any further steps have been taken in that direction by the Government of Canada or Germany; or whether the lower duties proposed in the Agreement between Canada and the United States will be extended to Germany either by the one or by the other.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention had been called to the authoritative announcement in America that, if the Canadian Reciprocity Hill passes into law, the American State Department will be obliged to decline to extend to the United Kingdom and the rest of the Empire the same tariff concessions as those given to Canada; and whether we can now any longer, as regards America, rely on the most-favoured-nation clause?


My attention has not been drawn to any announcement of this kind. The interpretation which has sometimes been placed by the United States upon the most-favoured-nation article in commercial treaties has already been a matter of controversy on previous occasions, and may become so again.


Does that long answer mean that we no longer have a favoured-nation-clause with America?


No; but the United States and the British Government differ in their interpretation of it.


asked whether, in the event of the United States-Canada reciprocity agreement becoming law, portable engines and traction engines for farm purposes manufactured in this country will, under the rights of most-favoured-nations, be admitted into the United States at the reduced tariff of 20 per cent. ad. valorem, to which such engines will be entitled if manufactured in Canada; and, if not, what duty will be payable on such engines if of English manufacture?

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

I am not at present in a position to make any statement with regard to the first part of the hon. Member's question. At present all steam engines, including portable engines and traction engines, are dutiable on importation into the United States at the rate of 30 per cent. ad valorem.


Is not the percentage stated in the first part of the question the correct I percentage which, if the Bill passes into law, these engines entering the United States from Canada will pay?


I do not think that is the question. I was asked as to goods entering the United States from Great Britain. I am not confirming or denying the accuracy of the figure.