HC Deb 20 May 1924 vol 173 cc1997-8
45. Colonel GRETTON

asked the Prime Minister if any terms for favourable treatment for the British goods imported into Germany were negotiated by the British Government when the Reparations Import Tax on German goods imported into this country was reduced by the present Government from 26 per cent. to 5 per cent. ad valorem?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Snowden)

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Farnham (Mr. A. M. Samuel) on the 4th March, of which I am sending him a copy.


Does that mean that nothing was done, that no negotiations were undertaken, when the Reparations Import Tax was reduced by this Government?


The purport of the answer given was that Germany is prohibited by Article 264 of the Treaty of Versailles from reducing customs duties on British imports, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman's question is in regard to favourable treatment.


Are we to understand that the Government threw away a bargaining asset and secured nothing in return?


I do not agree that there was a bargaining asset at all, and the circumstances were the same as when the previous Government reduced the duty from 50 per cent. to 26 per cent.


Could not anything have been done at that time to get rid of the system of licensing, which was so great a hindrance to trade?


This is becoming an argument.