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American Import Duties

Volume 499: debated on Thursday 24 April 1952

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24.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT the text of the recent communication from Her Majesty's Government to the Government of the United States of America in regard to increases in American import duties on British manufactured goods; and how far such increases are in consonance with the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of which the United Kingdom is one of the signatory countries.

The Memorandum in question, the text of which I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT, related to applications of particular concern to the United Kingdom under the so-called "Escape Clause" procedure. The applications referred to in the memorandum are still being investigated by the United States Tariff Commission who have not yet made any recommendations on any of them. Accordingly, the second part of the Question does not at present arise.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the very substantial volume of opinion in this House that the United Kingdom should consider its position urgently in relation to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade? Would he consider making a statement of the policy of Her Majesty's Government in this matter—such statement to be made in this House as opposed to the other place—as to what that policy will be?

This Question refers to a somewhat narrower point, namely, the action proposed in the United States under the so-called "Escape Clause." Her Majesty's Government thought it proper to make representations on that matter in connection with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. If the hon. Gentleman wants to ask the other question, perhaps he will put it down.

Following is the text of the Memorandum dated April 9, 1952: