HC Deb 22 June 1954 vol 529 cc215-6
20. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will draw the attention of the Government of India to the resentment in Lancashire caused by the Indian tariff against British textiles: and what other steps the Government are taking in this matter.

Mr. Amory

Yes, Sir. Representations have been made to the Government of India on this matter at the highest level and we shall continue to express our dissatisfaction at every suitable opportunity.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Are not Indian textiles allowed into this country virtually free? Is it not time my right hon. Friend insisted on some reciprocity in the matter?

Mr. Amory

It is true that Indian cotton textiles are admitted free. My hon. Friend will understand that that is in accordance with our general policy of not charging duty on Commonwealth products.

Mr. Beresford Craddock

Is it not a fact that India is a subscribing member to the Geneva Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and is not this duty a breach of that Agreement?

Mr. Amory

I think not.

Mr. Bottomley

Is it not a fact that in the case of the agreement between India and this country on balance this country has the benefit and we ought to be careful about making representations?

Mr. Amory

I agree with the right hon. Member that we must look at the overall effect of these agreements to decide whether they are advantageous or not to this country.