HC Deb 17 December 1928 vol 223 cc2595-6
18. Colonel HOWARD-BURY

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether, with regard to the new trade treaty between South Africa and Germany, he can state the number and most important articles at present enjoying Empire preference, and what are the maximum and minimum amounts of preference; and whether he will publish the representations made by the British Government with regard to this treaty?


As regards the first part of the question, I fear that it would not be possible to give the desired information within the limits of a reply to a Parliamentary question, but I shall be happy to send my hon. and gallant Friend copies of the relevant Union legislation. The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative, but the general nature of the communications with the Union Government on the subject of the Commercial Treaty with Germany was described in the reply given, on my behalf, by my right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies to questions on 4th December.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are very few articles which have these preferences to-day, and will he agree, from the special significance the German papers attach to it, that this is a breach in our Government policy of Empire Preference?


I think, when the hon. and gallant. Gentleman sees the list, he will find that it is a very considerable one.


Are we to regard this question as now closed, or is it still to be the subject of communication between himself and the South African Government?


No further communications as far as I know, are likely to pass between the British Government and the Union Government on the subject, but the matter is still subject to the consent of the South African Parliament.


In view of recent reports published by the Overseas Trade Department, which indicate very serious loss to British trade owing to neglect of marketing conditions, will not the right hon. Gentleman pay attention to that side of the subject?