§ 4. Mr. COCKS (for Mr. RHYS DAVIES)
asked the Secretary of State for India the terms of reference to the tariff board which has been ordered to make an inquiry into the question of protection for the Indian cotton-mill industry; and whether due consideration will be given to British interests?
§ Sir S. HOARE
I must apologise for the length of this answer. The Tariff Board have been directed to examine the following questions and make recommendations regarding them:—(1) Whether the claim of the Indian cotton textile industry to protection has been established; (2) if the claim is found to be established, do what form protection should be given, and to what extent; (3) if protection by means of import 1227 duties is recommended, then (a) whether the same rate of protection is required against competition of goods manufactured in the United Kingdom as against the competition of goods manufactured elsewhere, (b) what rates of duty are recommended on (i) cotton piece goods, (ii) piece goods made wholly or partly of artificial silk, (iii) cotton twist and yarn, according as they are manufactured in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The Board has also been asked to consider how its recommendations will affect tine handloom weaving industry. The preamble states that since the Protection Act of 1930 was passed, three important changes have occurred. First, by two successive Finance Acts the duty on cotton piece goods has been raised for revenue purposes. Second, a very large increase has occurred in the imports of artificial silk goods. Third, the Government of India have decided to discuss at Ottawa the question whether Great Britain and India should enter into a preferential trade agreement. The preamble also includes a reference to a resolution passed by the Legislative Assembly in 1923 of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy. As regards the second part of the question, the hon. Member will see that the terms of reference are comprehensive.
§ Mr. DOUGLAS HACKING
Has this committee yet had its first meeting, and when does my right hon. Friend think that it will be able to report?
§ Sir S. HOARE
I am not sure whether the committee has actually met, but it is meeting in the very near future, and it is hoped that the report will not take very long.