Trade Agreements Negotiations.

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 16th May 1933.

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Photo of Major Sir Robert Conant Major Sir Robert Conant , Chesterfield

33.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Government will undertake, in the negotiation of further trade agreements, to leave unchanged, as far as practicable, those tariffs which have been responsible for the introduction of new industries or processes into this country?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I can assure my hon. Friend that full consideration is given to all industries, both new and established, whose position may be affected by commercial negotiations with a foreign country.

Photo of Major Sir Robert Conant Major Sir Robert Conant , Chesterfield

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are large numbers of new industries and new processes which have grown up as a result of tariffs and are now entirely dependent for their existence upon the continuance of some form of reasonable protection?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I am well aware of the fact that there have been a number of new processes that have grown up during the last few years under these influences.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

35.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what industries are likely to be affected by any of the trade agreements now in contemplation; and whether they or any of them will be consulted before any arrangement is arrived at?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I am afraid I cannot anticipate the course of the negotiations for any new trade agreements. With regard to the second part of the question. I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made in Debate on the 1st May.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Does the right hon. Gentleman fully appreciate the grave lack of confidence and uncertainty that must be created in many trades, seeing that similar industries have been affected without consultation?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I am prepared to consider any information which is brought to my notice.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the information which I bring to his notice in reference to dairy and agricultural engineers whose trade was affected by an agreement while their case was under consideration by the Tariff Advisory Committee?

Photo of Mr Henry Croft Mr Henry Croft , Bournemouth

37.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can give an assurance that in future any industries granted protection by the Tariff Advisory Committee, the tariff rates of which have been assented to by Parliament, will not be deprived of such protection until the industries themselves have been consulted; and whether he can give an undertaking that duties will not be reduced, in any event, until a definite period of years has elapsed?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I assume that my hon. and gallant Friend is referring to the question of consultation with particular interests in connection with trade negotiations with foreign countries. On this subject I would invite his attention to the statement I made in Debate on the 1st May. With regard to the second part of the question, it would, I fear, be impossible for the assurance suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend to be given.

Photo of Mr Henry Croft Mr Henry Croft , Bournemouth

May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman realises that unless some decision is come to in regard to the future there can be no confidence in industry?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I have not detected any lack of confidence. Indeed, there has been nothing but growing confidence during the last two years.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

41.

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he hopes to conclude trade agreements with Sweden and Holland; and whether he has in view negotiations with other countries for similar purposes?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

A commercial agreement with Sweden was signed yesterday, and the text will, I hope, be available to Members to-morrow. No negotiations are in progress with Holland. With regard to the last part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 4th May to the hon. Member for East Leicester (Mr. Lyons).