HC Deb 26 April 1956 vol 551 c1971
49. Mr. Peyton

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will, in consultation with representatives of the Commonwealth, review the operation of the Ottawa Trade Agreements, particularly the rule permitting the free entry of goods from the Colonies into the United Kingdom.

Mr. Low

No, Sir.

Mr. Peyton

Would not my hon. Friend agree that these Agreements were made in circumstances very different from those which now prevail and that therefore they should be re-examined in the light of present day conditions? Is he further aware that they are constituting an increasing competition to certain industries which have been extremely hard pressed?

Mr. Low

I think that my hon. Friend is particularly concerned about the duty-free entry from the Hong Kong Colony. That, of course, is not the result of any agreement; it is the result of policy embodied in Statute. As my hon. Friend will know, a change of policy would involve serious considerations of colonial policy generally. As was stated in the House a year ago by the Prime Minister, we gave careful consideration to the matter at that time, and Her Majesty's Government are not now prepared, under existing circumstances, to depart from long-established arrangements.