HC Deb 10 May 1951 vol 487 cc2145-6
34. Mr. David Griffiths

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will now make a further statement about the results of the tariff negotiations recently concluded at Torquay.

Sir H. Shawcross

As the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) was informed on 5th April, the Governments participating in the Conference agreed that the release of the detailed results of the tariff negotiations at Torquay should be held over until 9th May. I have, therefore, arranged for a White Paper (Cmd. 8228) to be available in the Vote Office this afternoon. This contains a short description of the scope and purpose of these negotiations and an appraisement of the their results so far as the United Kingdom is concerned.

The tariff schedules embodying the new maximum tariff rates which have been agreed upon are not reproduced in the White Paper on account of their bulk. They will be published on 12th May by the United Nations, and I am arranging for copies to be available in the Library from 15th May. Trade associations and others interested will be able to obtain copies through His Majesty's Stationery Office in the usual way.

Should the House wish to discuss the results of this Conference, I have no doubt that arrangements could be made through the usual channels.

Our intention is to lay before the House such measures, either a Clause in the Finance Bill or Treasury Orders mainly under the Import Duties Act, as appropriate, to implement the concessions in the United Kingdom tariff which involve alterations in the current rates of duty. It is also our intention that any reduction in duty should come into effect on 1st September. As regards the reductions in tariff rates which have been conceded by other countries, traders will be informed through the Board of Trade Journal as and when the participating countries implement the concessions listed in their schedules.

I appreciate that traders and others will wish to have the information about these tariff changes before they are actually put into force. Arrangements have, therefore, been made for copies of the tariff schedules to be available for consultation at certain chambers of commerce, at the offices of the national trade and industrial organisations and at the regional offices of the Board of Trade. Further details of where reference copies of the tariff schedules may be consulted are being given in this week's edition of the Board of Trade Journal.

Major Lloyd

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in spite of the agreement not to reveal the details until 9th May, it is understood that in several other countries considerable information, which is apparently accurate, is available? Is that true, and is the right hon. Gentleman going to do anything about it?

Sir H. Shawcross

We ourselves have sought to stick to the understanding. I think the matter might have become the subject of publication last night, but this is my first opportunity of answering Questions in the House about it.