Imperial Preference.

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 24th November 1931.

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Miss CAZALET:

37.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can give the House the figure of the total value, for each of the last three years, of the preferences given by the Dominions to the United Kingdom on our exports to them, and also the similar figure accruing to the Dominions from the preferences given to them by the United Kingdom?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT such information as is available.

Following is the information:

Complete information in regard to the amount of preferential rebates granted by the Dominions (not including India) on United Kingdom goods is only available with respect to the year 1929. It is estimated that during that year the total amount of such preferential rebates aggregated approximately £15,000,000.

The approximate amount of the (gross) preferential rebate allowed on goods consigned from the Dominions (not including India) and delivered for home consumption during the years ended 31st March, 1929, 1930 and 1931 was £3,000,000, £3,500,000 and £3,000,000 respectively.

In all cases the amount of preferential rebate represents the difference between the amount of duty received at the preferential rate and the amount which would have been paid on the same quantities had duty been charged at the full rate.

It will be appreciated that the amount of the preferential rebates is in no sense an accurate measure of the real value of the preferences.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

53.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the retained imports of foreign teas in the United Kingdom, which amounted in 1921 to 32,000,000 lbs., had increased in 1930 to 85,000,000 lbs., while the Empire's share in the same period fell from 92 per cent. to 81 per cent.; and whether he can assure the House that early steps will be taken to secure a preference for British Empire teas, especially having regard to the fact that all British tea entering Holland is subject to an import duty?

Photo of Mr Neville Chamberlain Mr Neville Chamberlain , Birmingham, Edgbaston

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, I am unable to make any statement at present.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the present very grave position of British tea planters, and will the Government deal with the matter at the earliest possible date?