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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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).