HC Deb 26 April 1928 vol 216 cc1075-6
53. Commander BELLAIRS

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any foreign countries have lowered their tariffs since the resolution of the Economic Conference at Geneva last summer in favour of lower tariffs; and what countries have since raised their tariffs?

Mr. DOUGLAS HACKING (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

Reductions of Customs duties of varying magnitude have been effected since the Economic Conference, mainly as the result of the conclusion of Tariff Treaties, in Czechoslovakia. Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Serb-Croat-Slovene Kingdom, Switzerland and Turkey. On the other hand, tariff increases covering a wide range of goods have been brought into operation in France, Chile, Salvador and Poland. Tariff increases of a less extensive character have taken place in Italy and Portugal. In Austria, Cuba and Belgium there have been changes in both directions. In most other countries there have been no changes of duty of importance.


May I ask how it is that the hon. Gentleman does not mention the tariffs that have since been put on in England?


I am sure the hon. Member knows that our import duties are countervailed by Excise duties, and are, therefore, purely for revenue purposes.

Brigadier-General Sir HENRY CROFT

Has my hon. Friend's attention been called to the desire of numerous Members on the Opposition side for prohibition, and may we take it that that is a suggested solution?


Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that the majority of the duties imposed by the present Government carry no countervailing excise, and can he say whether the Government propose to reduce the duties and follow the good example of these countries?


Those duties which are protective in character only apply to some two or three per cent. of our total imports.