HC Deb 03 June 1924 vol 174 cc1087-8W

asked the President of the Board of Trade, if he can give any information about the arrangement by which textiles manufactured in Alsace have to be admitted into unoccupied Germany free of duty, and if Great Britain has the same advantage as France; and, if so, what is the percentage of these imports of both countries?


Article 68 of the Treaty of Versailles provides that, for a period of five years from the coming into force of the Treaty, natural or manufactured products originating in and coming from Alsace-Lorraine should, on importation into German Customs territory, be exempt from all Customs duty. It was alto provided that the French Government was to fix each year by decree the nature and amount of the products which were to enjoy this exemption, the amount of each product not to exceed the average of the amounts sent annually in the years 1911–1913. The five-year period expires in January next. Decrees have been issued each year by the French Government as contemplated by the Treaty; and I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the latest of these Decrees, fixing the "contingents" for the year 1924 1925. The list comprises various textile and other products. These special and temporary privileges in favour of Alsace-Lorraine are not extended to, or shared by, the United Kingdom. With regard to the last part of the question, complete particulars are not available respecting such imports into Germany during the year 1923; but, on the basis of the detailed returns for about nine-tenths (by weight) of the textile goods covered by the arrangement in question, taken as a whole, about 11 per cent. were imported from Alsace-Lorraine, about 3 per cent. from the rest of France, and about 36 per cent. from the United Kingdom.

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