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Tariffs

Volume 149: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1921

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I now come to the question of tariffs. Here I confess that I was very reluctant to assent to any proposition which would involve Ireland having the right to impose tariffs upon British goods, although undoubtedly it was a Dominion right. Ultimately, and only very reluctantly, we assented to this, for the reason that Ireland is more dependent upon Britain in the matter of trade than is Britain upon Ireland. For Irish produce, especially agricultural products, England is substantially the only purchaser. That is certainly not the case in the opposite way. Therefore, the danger of any menace to our trade and commerce from this quarter is one which is entirely in our own hands; but I did think it was very important that there should be a protection against any legislation which would exclude British ships from the coastal trade with Ireland, and that was inserted in the Agreement.