HC Deb 29 November 1938 vol 342 cc233-4
33. Mr. Chorlton

asked the President of the Board of Trade what countries will be affected under the Most-Favoured-Nation Clause in the lately concluded Trade Agreement with the United States with a consequent reduction of the preference originally given to us; and to what extent?

Mr. Stanley

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave to a similar question by the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) on 22nd November.

Mr. Shinwell

Can the Minister say why the Most-Favoured-Nation Clause should be applied to those countries which show no disposition to reduce their tariffs?

Mr. Stanley

I have made it plain that we withdraw the clause in the case of any country which discriminates against our exports.

Sir John Haslam

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the abrogation of this clause, because it belongs to an antiquated system which, I think, has gone out of date altogether, and is proving detrimental to the interests of this country?

Mr. Stanley

That is too large a question to decide by question and answer, but I cannot admit all that the hon. Member has said.

Mr. Burke

In view of the changed economic conditions, is it not time to reconsider the advisability of altering this Most-Favoured-Nation Clause?

Mr. Stanley

I do not think it is a subject which can be debated at Question Time, but I think the hon. Member will have a great amount of apostolic work to do with his colleagues who believe in the greatest possible extension of free trade.