HC Deb 01 March 1926 vol 192 cc1040-1W

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that in the South African Union Customs Tariff and Excise Duties Amendment Act (No. 36) of 1925, certain specified preferential rates do not apply to Great Britain; and whether, in view of the effect on British trade, any representations are being made to the South African Government?


The Act to which my hon. Friend refers, prescribes certain preferences to specified classes of goods produced or manufactured in the United Kingdom. It also provides that if and when a reciprocal agreement for that purpose is concluded between the Union and any other part of His Majesty's Dominions or any foreign state, certain tariff concessions may be extended by the Union to that part of His Majesty's Dominions or to that foreign state: but in every such case a similar preference is automatically extended to the United Kingdom, and furthermore no such agreement may be concluded with any foreign state in respect of the classes of goods referred to above in which a specific preference is accorded to the United Kingdom.

The Act further provides, and it is no doubt to this provision that my hon. Friend alludes, that until such an agreement as I have already mentioned is concluded with Canada, Australia, or New Zealand as the case may be, preferences shall be accorded to those Dominions on certain specified classes of goods. The great majority of these goods are included among those in respect of which preference is accorded to the United Kingdom, but the following classes of goods are not so included—namely, wheat, butter, cheese, meat (other than bacon and ham), patent cereal foods, unmanufactured wood, binding twine, and hops. It will be observed that most of the latter goods are not such as are produced for export or manufactured for export in this country.