§ 42. Mr. CADOGAN
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the decision of the United States of America's Treasury to levy an anti-bounty duty on manufactures of silk or artificial silk imported from the United Kingdom; if he will state whether this country is a party to any commercial treaty which denies to it the same right to impose countervailing duties as has been exercised by the United States of America; if so, by what treaty or treaties is our freedom of action so limited; and what steps he proposes to take in order to counteract the effect upon our trade of this decision on the part of the United States of America's Treasury?
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
Treaty arrangements with practically all the most important commercial countries make it impossible for countervailing duties to be placed on goods, which are the subject of a direct or indirect bounty, originating in these countries. With regard to the first and last parts of the question, the decision of the United States Treasury, to which the hon. Member refers, was published in the Board of Trade Journal on the 28th November. I have not received 'any representations from manufacturers on this subject, but shall, of course, be happy to consider any views they may wish to lay before me.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
Can the right hon. Gentleman say what is the provision in these multifarious treaties of ours which prevents our putting on a duty to countervail a bounty?
§ Mr. GRAHAM
This matter raises the large question of the ordinary most-favoured-nation treatment. The matter is very complicated and not material for a supplementary question, but that is the difficulty.
§ Mr. GRAHAM
I can only say that I am afraid much larger questions arise. 1193 I have investigated this matter very carefully, and, as the right, hon. Gentleman knows, it really turns upon a flat rate drawback on re-exported silk, which they regard as a bounty, and on which they, of course, make a decision.
§ Mr. CADOGAN
Was it not contended that we were to be debarred from placing anti-bounty duties on German cereals imported into this country because it was inconsistent with the most-favoured-nation Clause?