HL Deb 18 June 1947 vol 148 cc951-2

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government, whether it is true as reported in the Press that during the Empire Trade talks held in London in March, a British proposal was made to abandon Empire preferential tariff margins, and that it was only after the Canadian Delegation had put up such a stiff fight against it that the British agreed to abandon the proposal, and further, whether His Majesty's Government can be relied upon not to abandon any preferential tariffs unless very substantial concessions were made by the United States of America in their tariffs which could be regarded as an equivalent to the preferential tariffs concerned.]


My Lords, I would draw the noble Viscount's attention to the statement about the Anglo-United States Financial Agreement made by the Prime Minister in another place on December 6, 1945, in the course of which he said: It is recognized that reduction or elimination of preferences can only be considered in relation to and in return for reductions of tariffs and other barriers to world trade in general, which would make for mutually ad- vantageous arrangements for the expansion of trade There is thus no question of any unilateral surrender of preferences. There must be adequate compensation for all parties affected. I can assure the noble Viscount that this remains the policy of His Majesty's Government, and at no time in the course of the discussions with Commonwealth Delegations did the United Kingdom Delegation make any proposal which was inconsistent with that policy.


My Lords, I wish to thank the noble Lord for that answer. I am very glad to hear what the noble Lord said regarding the statement of the Prime Minister. I am sure everybody in the Empire will be very satisfied with the statement.