17. Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether any offer relating to the sale of Canadian wheat in this country on the basis of reciprocal preference has been made by Canada since the findings of the Imperial Conference have been published?
Will the right hon. Gentleman state what will be the next step which the Government propose to take on this vital matter?
The question is whether any offer relating to the sale of Canadian wheat in this country on the basis of reciprocal preference has been made by Canada since the findings of the Imperial Conference have been published. That is a question to which I have answered "No." The next stage is a stage which has already been initiated by the Government at home, namely, to inquire and have immediate investigation made into all the methods by which this can be accomplished. In the case of wheat, the obvious reciprocal agreement would be in respect of coal.
The answer is that I endeavoured 15 months ago to bring about a reciprocal arrangement in regard to wheat and coal, but the right hon. Gentleman knows that coal is also pro- 1962 duced in Canada, and Canada feels it necessary in her own interests to put a tariff on soft coal.
18. Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he is in a position to state whether any proposals have been made by the Government of Australia to reduce tariffs now existing in that Dominion on the basis of reciprocal preference with this country?
I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the speech made by the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia at the second plenary session of the Imperial Conference held on 8th October in which Mr. Scullin stated that Australia would be willing, as part of a definite policy of Imperial economic co-operation, to consult with the representatives of manufacturers in this country to see if it is possible, without sacrificing any important Australian interests, to afford a greater degree of preference to certain goods, and also to consider any representations which manufacturers here may desire to make regarding the administration of the Commonwealth preferential system.
Vice - Admiral TAYLOR
Has His Majesty's Government any constructive policy whatever for bringing Australian trade within easier reach of the manufacturers of this country?
19. Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether any exchange of views on the possibility of developing reciprocal preferences with New Zealand have taken place since the close of the Imperial Confernce and whether any conclusion has been reached?
Does it mean that nothing can be done to take advantage of the offer that was made by the Prime Minister of New Zealand?
Yes, but the hon. and gallant Member must know what the offer was. The particular commodities that New Zealand is mainly interested in exporting are butter and cheese. The hon. and gallant Member knows perfectly well that, when the question of quota is being examined and we start with wheat, which 1963 applies to Canada and Australia, mainly, we then proceed from that stage to see what particular quota is applicable to the other. In the case of New Zealand, it is butter and cheese.