HC Deb 02 December 1930 vol 245 cc1967-9
27. Mr. HANNON

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is now in a position to make a statement on the results of the conference for concerted action at Geneva; what States have now definitely become parties to the tariff truce; whether any proposals for the reduction of tariffs have been put forward by any of the States which have signed the Convention; and if any of the signatory States have indicated its desire to withdraw from the Convention?


As the delegates to the conference on this subject have only just returned from Geneva, perhaps the hon. Member would repeat the first part and the last two parts of his question a little later. The answer to the second part of the question is that ratifications of the Commercial Convention have been deposited by the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Luxemburg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.


While quite prepared to await the fuller reply, w ill the President of the Board of Trade indicate to the House now any single advantage arising from the whole of this tariff truce?


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the statements which have appeared in the Press are correct, that no country is prepared to go into a general discussion of tariffs, and that all that has happened have been bilateral negotiations? If that is so, has he not by his tariff truce given away the only weapon that he could use in any bilateral negotiations?


No. It would take a considerable speech to reply to the suggestion of the right hon. Member, and I would only say this, that the position is not as indicated in the Press if statements to that effect have appeared. I should like to add, without the slightest hesitation, that, but for the offers which have been made in connection with this tariff convention, tariffs would have been even higher to-day than they are.

37. Major COLVILLE

asked the President of the Board of Trade if any further foreign nations have ratified the tariff truce and if any British Dominions have intimated their intention to participate?


Italy has deposited her ratification of the Commercial Convention since the opening of the Conference on 17th November. The reply to the last part of the question is in the negative.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House any indication of the amount of time spent on this futile proceeding?


Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it desirable that no one single member of the British Commonwealth of Nations should ratify a truce of this kind—


That point does not arise on the question.