I cannot anticipate the outcome of these negotiations. Any reductions which we may make in our tariff will depend on the extent to which other countries are willing to make concessions in favour of our exports.
Does not the President think that in the present state of G.A.T.T. it is most essential that that Agreement is not allowed to stagnate; it must either go backwards or forwards? Unless we make positive proposals for reductions of tariffs, is not the Agreement likely to fall down before long?
Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to the fact that no fewer than five Commonwealth countries have not bothered—in my view rightly so—to send their delegations to the G.A.T.T. meeting? How does my right hon. Friend reconcile this fact with his own repeated assertions that the Commonwealth were enthusiastically in favour of this organisation?
There are many activities in this organisation other than this particular round of tariff negotiation; which indeed is not being conducted over a very wide front owing to the fact that the United States are limited to reductions of about 15 per cent. in any event.
While agreeing that negotiators should be left a free hand, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman does not agree that they should not be given a free hand to put G.A.T.T. into reverse?
asked the President of the Board of Trade what attitude was adopted by Her Majesty's Government towards the limitation of the tariff negotations at Geneva, whereby such negotiations may be conducted only on a selective product-by-product basis, and for what reasons.
Her Majesty's Government fully supported the decision of the contracting parties to conduct the present negotiations on the usual product-by-product basis. An alternative plan was at one stage presented which would not, in my view, have ensured equitable results for all participating countries.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the bilateral approach does not seem to offer very much hope for substantial reductions? Will he press for further negotiations with a view to all-round reductions in tariffs?