asked the Prime Minister if his attention has been directed to the new tariffs of many of the Continental States and the new tariff proposed in the United States of America; and whether, seeing that these new tariffs show that those countries are determined to restrict the importation of manufactured goods, and to import only coal and raw material and semi-manufactured goods, such as thread and yarn, he will, under these conditions, appoint a special committee to consider the new situation which has arisen and how it will affect our manufacturers and workers in the future?
I have been asked to reply. The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, I am well aware of the complaints to which the tariff policy of the countries referred to by my hon. Friend is giving rise among British exporters. It is the practice of my Department to proceed in these matters in close consultation with Chambers of Commere and trade associations, and I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by the appointment of a committee such as that suggested.
May I ask, having regard to the effect that these treaties will have upon the unemployed question in this country, whether something in the nature of a public inquiry cannot take place?
I do not think the moment is ripe for that.