HC Deb 04 August 1919 vol 119 cc3-4
5. Mr. ATKEY

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that on the 8th July, 1919, a French presidential decree imposed additional duties, varying from 40 per cent. to 260 per cent. on the importation of lace and new into that country and that these duties are very adversely affecting the export trade of Nottingham to France; that similar goods of French manufacture are specially exempted from the prohibition into this country and are admitted free of all duty and in unlimited quantities; that every lace machine in Calais is fully employed whilst 70 per cent. of the machines in Nottingham and district are standing for want of orders; and will he consider the possibility of paying our Allies the compliment of following their own lead and imposing exactly similar duties?


I am aware that the French import duty on machine-made lacehas recently been increased by 40 per cent., and on nets by 100 per cent. Under the reciprocal agreement of August, 1917, between this country and France, import licences were freely granted in each country for lace manufactured in the other. As to the condition of the Calais lace industry I have no information; but the Nottingham lace industry has certainly been suffering a depression and a good deal of machinery has been standing idle. My latest information is that the demand for certain classes of Nottingham products is improving. With regard to the hon. Member's suggestion I am not yet prepared to make a statement about future trade policy.


Do I understand that the reciprocal arrangement referred to having taken place in August has been varied by the French authorities?


No. The arrangement has not been varied. Certain prices may have changed but not the duties.