HC Deb 14 December 1932 vol 273 cc330-1

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that out of 14,000,000 yards of cotton goods imported into Kenya in the first nine months of this year, 10,000,000 were from Japan; and whether he will consider measures for stopping the dumping of Japanese cotton goods which is now taking place in Kenya, Uganda, Ceylon, Mauritius, Nigeria, and other Colonies?


The question of Japanese competition in cotton, and other, goods has been brought to my notice and is receiving careful consideration.


Does my right hon. Friend think it right that we should continue to allow these Colonies, which have grown up by British administration and under British control, to be used as dumping grounds for our competitors' goods; and will he not take some action in the matter?


I have really answered that question already. So far as these Colonies are free to grant preferences, they have done so. So far as they have not granted preferences, they are debarred from doing so by treaties. Hitherto, the gentlemen for whom the hon. Member speaks, have advised the Government of the day that they have considered it to be in British interests to maintain those treaties. That is a matter for the British Government to decide here. If it is decided that any treaty should be got rid of, I should only he too glad to concur in such a decision, and I think I can guarantee that in such a case any Colony would most willingly grant preferences.


Will any duty which may be imposed on Japanese cotton going into East Africa—which will fall upon the natives in that country—be taken into account by reducing other taxation falling upon the natives in that country


That is a very hypothetical question. Under the Anglo-Japanese Treaty, apart altogether from the Convention, there would be no power to impose such a duty.


The right hon. Gentleman referred specifically to the question of preferences, but would he consider any administrative action other than preferences, such as, for example, anti-dumping procedure, or exchange regulations, or action in regard to currency valuation and so forth, which might be helpful?


I have considered and reconsidered practically every aspect of this problem, but I must point out, first, that there is a whole series of international conventions affecting this question, and, secondly, that there is the Anglo-Japanese Treaty which can only be denounced at 12 months' notice and which is binding, not only on this country, but on all the Dependencies of the British Empire.