Tariff Boards (Canada and Australia).

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 19th July 1933.

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Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether and upon how many occasions the tariff boards of Canada and Australia have met since the ratification of the Ottawa Agreements; and which British industries have been represented and upon what dates, respectively?

Mr. J. H. THOMAS:

I understand that the Tariff Board of Canada took up its duties on 1st May and that, although no inquiries into the duties on United Kingdom goods have yet been made, the board is proceeding as rapidly as possible with the necessary preliminary steps. I have no particulars in regard to the number of occasions upon which the Tariff Board of the Commonwealth of Australia has met since the ratification of the Agreement made at Ottawa or in regard to the number of United Kingdom industries which have exercised their rights of audience under Article 13 of that Agreement, but I understand that, since the Ottawa Agreement Act was passed in the Commonwealth of Australia at the end of November last, the Tariff Board has submitted numerous reports, which have resulted in the main in the reduction of the rates applicable to imports of the goods concerned from the United Kingdom.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

May we take it that there is as yet no concrete result from any application by any industry to the Tariff Board of either Canada or Australia, notwithstanding that we are now in July, 1933?

Viscountess ASTOR:

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that, unless we can get a really economic Empire, it would be better to put it off and try for world economic unity?

Mr. THOMAS:

The indications from Australia, which I have already dealt with, show that they are not unmindful of the advantages. I am equally sure that Canada will respond, I hope speedily. The second supplementary question is obviously not an Imperial but an international one and does not come within my province.

Photo of Sir Robert Perkins Sir Robert Perkins , Stroud

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Australian Government have increased duties in five instances against British manufactured goods?

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Is it not a fact that trade after trade in this country is complaining to-day, and rightly, of material manufactured in the Dominions coming here under cost of production, over which our Tariff Board has no check of any kind, and is that in keeping with the spirit of the Agreement?

Mr. THOMAS:

Speaking for myself, the contribution made by this country at Ottawa was a genuine and sincere attempt to develop, and rightly develop, imperial trade. We have carried out our side of the bargain both in the letter and in the spirit. There have been circumstances in the Dominions for which they were not wholly responsible, and which have created difficulties for them. I hope and believe that they will respond in the same spirit as we have responded.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to give his personal attention to this matter in order to see that the right atmosphere is created?

Mr. THOMAS:

My personal attention is always directed towards creating the right atmosphere. I know of no atmosphere more congenial than when I am present.