HC Deb 12 July 1934 vol 292 cc516-7

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is now able to make a statement on the methods adopted by Canadian motor-car manufacturers to fulfil the 50 per cent. content for preference purposes of entry into this country?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)

As promised on the 28th June, I have written to the hon. Member on this matter.


Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with the manner in which the Canadian Government have carried out the arrangement in regard to the 50 per cent.?


As this is an allegation against the Canadian Government made upon the Floor of the House, will the Chancellor of the Exchequer not give the details equal publicity?


I shall be very pleased to circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the letter which I have written to the hon. Member.

Following is the letter:

"Treasury Chambers,

Whitehall, S.W.

10th July, 1934.

Dear Rhys Davies,

You will remember that in reply to the question which you put to me in the House on the 28th June, about preference on motor cars manufactured in Canada, I said that I was making certain inquiries, on the conclusion of which I would communicate with you.

The position is that under the law motor cars consigned to this country from the British Empire are only admitted to preference if it is shown to the satisfaction of the Customs that not less than.50 per cent. of their value is derived from expenditure of a prescribed kind which has been incurred in the British Empire or the United Kingdom in respect of materials grown or produced or work clone in the British Empire or the United Kingdom. The pre- scribed expenditure (i.e., the Empire content) is defined by the Board of Trade Regulations. Under these Regulations some of the items mentioned in the first part of your question may properly be included in the Empire content for preference purposes but others may not.

I should explain that the percentage of "Empire content" necessary to qualify for preference in the case of motor cars was increased to its present figure of 50 from 25 as from 1st April, 1933, and whilst it was possible for motor cars which had undergone minor processes (e.g., assembly, upholdstering, etc.) in Canada to qualify under the old requirements, that is hardly possible now. In any case only three of the manufacturers mentioned by your correspondent are exporting Canadian motor cars to this country at the present time, and I may add that only in the case of one particular make, in respect of which the Customs are fully satisfied, is the claim to preference admitted at the time of importation. In all other cases the importer is required to deposit the full duty (or give equivalent bond) pending investigation by the Customs of the title to preference.

You may also be interested to know that the Customs had two men over in Canada last summer looking into these preference claims and that these investigations on the spot are being continued this year.

I return the correspondence which you sent to the Treasury on this subject.

Yours sincerely,

(Sgd.) N. Chamberlain.

R. J. Davies, Esq., M.P."

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