HC Deb 06 April 1936 vol 310 cc2411-2

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the application made by the Palestine Foundries and Metal Works, Limited, to the high commission in Palestine for an increase of duties from 7s. per bath to 30s. per bath, for an increase of duties on cast-iron soil pipes and connections from £1 per ton to £3 per ton, and for the withdrawal of the overriding ordinance which suspended the duties on pipes and fittings to be used in connection with water and drainage installations; that the withdrawal of this ordinance will make it impossible for British makers to do an export trade in these baths, pipes and connections with Palestine; and what action has been, or is likely to be, taken to safeguard British manufacturing interests?


I have been asked to reply. I am aware of the proposals in question, which are designed to protect a local industry in Palestine. The hon. Member will appreciate that it would not be proper for His Majesty's Government to interfere in this matter owing to this being a mandated territory.


Is it not possible for His Majesty's Ministers at least to open up negotiations, even with a mandated territory, in the interests of British trade?


It is possible to do it, but under the mandate we have to give impartial consideration to all countries, and I am sure that if I announced in this House that His Majesty's Government were going to interfere in the manner suggested I should at once be asked, "What about the mandate?"