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Tariff Truce

Volume 237: debated on Tuesday 25 March 1930

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asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the outcome of the proceedings at Geneva with regard to the suggested tariff truce?


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the abstention of all the British Dominions from the Tariff Truce Conference and the rejection by that conference of the Government's proposals, he intends to take further part in its discussions?


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has any statement to make regarding his negotiations for a tariff truce at Geneva?


asked the President of the Board of Trade the result of his recent negotiations with the European Powers at Geneva as to a tariff truce?

The House will be aware that I recently visited Geneva and took part in the discussions which have for some time been in progress for the conclusion of an international convention on this subject. I am glad to state that a Convention was signed yesterday, as well as a Protocol regarding future negotiations for reducing trade barriers. Both documents were signed on behalf of Great Britain; the former also by 10 other countries, and the latter by 14. The text of these documents will in due course be laid before the House.

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to the fact that the chairman of this committee, as reported in the daily Press, stated that, if they had taken a first hesitating step, it was all that they had taken; and does that justify the optimism that the right hon. Gentleman has always shown in regard to this matter?

Certainly. While it is true that the Convention now signed falls short of the original draft, it is nevertheless, in my opinion, a very valuable document.

Will this document which was signed yesterday preclude the taking of any step at all by His Majesty's Government during the next two years to safeguard any enterprise in this country?

I think the effect will be to give a basis on which to proceed with negotiations for the discussion of the reduction of tariffs in Europe, and I believe that that will be of very great importance to the trade of this country.

None of the questions to which the right hon. Gentleman has replied suggested a Debate on this matter.