HC Deb 08 November 1932 vol 270 cc173-4
19. Mr. HANNON

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs if he is aware that the export of sugar-making machinery to Australia has practically ceased in consequence of the high tariff in that Dominion amounting, even with preference, to 40 per cent. ad valorem; and if, in view of the fact that Great Britain allows a tariff preference of £23 15s. per ton of sugar imported from Australia, he will make representations to the Government of the Commonwealth that further preference should be given to British-made sugar-making machinery?


I would refer my hon. Friend to Articles 10 and 11 of the United Kingdom-Australian Agreement signed at the Ottawa Conference. In accordance with those Articles the duties to, which my hon. Friend refers will fall for review by the Tariff Board in Australia as soon as practicable.


Will the right hon. Gentleman call the attention of the Australian Government to this particular case?


No. It would be unfair to draw the attention of any Dominion to a particular ease. The Agreement sets out that there shall be a fair and impartial review, and the conditions governing it are also fair. It would be better, the hon. Member having put the question, to leave it at that.


Can the right hon. Gentleman define more closely the words "as soon as practicable"? Does that mean an indefinite time, or until the revenue of the Australian Commonwealth has improved?


No; "as soon as practicable" requires a common sense interpretation, having regard to the fact that we trust them and they trust us, and we hope that both will do the right thing.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that one of the Indian delegates to Ottawa on his way home went to Holland and placed an order for sugar machinery there?