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Imperial Preference (Reductions)

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 29 July 1954

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asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will provide a list of the reductions which have been made in the preferences on United Kingdom imports from the Commonwealth in each year since the Torquay Conference of 1951; the present estimated average margin of preference; and how this average compares with that obtaining in 1948.

The only reductions which have been made in margins of preference since the end of the Torquay Conference are those which have incidentally resulted from reductions in most-favoured-nation rates of duties imposed on foreign goods. Such reductions are listed below. In many of these items there is little or no Commonwealth trade. In no case has a commitment under the Ottawa Agreements been affected.I regret that a comparison of the average margins of preference in 1948 and at the present time is not available and could not be obtained without the

ProductRate of duty reduced
Albardin grass10 per cent.Free entry
Diss or vine-tie grass10 per cent.Free entry
Fibre of common broom or Spanish broom (in certain forms)10 per cent.Free entry
Lithium sulphate (of certain specification and value)10 per cent.Free entry
Wool sliver (of certain specifications)10 per cent.Free entry
Unwrought cobalt (in certain forms)10 per cent.Free entry
Bagasse pulp, bleached10 per cent.Free entry
Softwood sleepers, not further prepared or manufactured than square sawn10 per cent.8s. per standard of 165 cubic feet
Milo starch, of value exceeding 10s. per cwt.10 per cent.7½ per cent, or 1s. per cwt., whichever is greater
Citrus fruit in brine15 per cent.12½ per cent.
Apricots and certain other fruits preserved without sugar25 per cent.15 per cent.
Parts of and accessories to concertinas and accordians33⅓ per cent, (full)25 per cent, (full)
22 per cent, (preferential)16⅔ per cent, (preferential)
Parts of musical instrument:—Reed plates incorporating reeds.33⅓ per cent, (full)20 per cent, (full)
22 per cent, (preferential)13⅓ per cent, (preferential)
Inset mails of a kind used in the manufacture of wire healds for textile looms20 per cent.Free entry
Aerial survey film (of certain specifications)10 per cent.Free entry

Footnote: In all these cases, except where a preferential rate has been stated, the preferential rate is free entry so that the margin of preference has been reduced to the extent of the reduction in the full rate of duty.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what applications have been made for the reduction or removal of Empire preference in relation to duties imposed on goods imported into Great Britain during the current year; in what cases such reductions or abolitions of preference have been granted; what applications are at present under consideration; and what steps are taken to consult the Commonwealth countries concerned in connection with such applications.