HC Deb 14 November 1950 vol 480 cc141-2W
101. Mr. Russell

asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent the tariff reductions on British goods by foreign countries negotiated at Annecy in 1949 have been offset by quotas and other restrictions on imports.

Mr. Bottomley

Under the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in which these tariff reductions are incorporated, it is permissible for contracting Governments to apply import restrictions where this is necessary to safeguard their balance of payments. This has been recognised from the outset of the post-war negotiations; and most Governments which are parties to the General Agreement are necessarily availing themselves of this facility and applying restrictions over a part of their import trade. But as a result particularly of the policy of relaxation of import restrictions sponsored by the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation, the import restrictions applied to the United Kingdom export trade by other countries, including those which acceded to the General Agreement as a result of the Annecy Conference, have on the whole become appreciably less severe since the Annecy negotiations were concluded.