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General Agreement On Tariffs And Trade

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 28 October 1954

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3.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will support a proposal for the progressive reduction of Customs tariffs during the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Conference to be held in Geneva.

Her Majesty's Government have co-operated with other Contracting Parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in formulating proposals for the progressive reduction of tariffs. It would, however, seem to us difficult to come to any effective decisions until we know what contribution the United States may be enabled by future legislation to make for their part towards the reduction of tariffs, which can only be undertaken on a multilateral basis.

In view of that Answer, will the President make it quite clear that the world needs trade rather than aid, and that trade should not only be free but fair?

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that tariffs are not necessarily barriers to trade, but sometimes a means of regulating it?

4.

asked the President of the Board of Trade his present policy with regard to the entry of Japan as a full member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

This question was among those discussed recently with Commonwealth officials at the London Conference. I have also had some talks with the Japanese Prime Minister on this subject. Our eventual decision will depend upon whether an acceptable basis can be found to enable us and other countries to undertake relationships within the G.A.T.T. towards Japan without any violent disturbance of existing trade patterns or the development of disruptive or unfair Japanese competition.

Is the President aware that the attitude of the workers engaged in the pottery industry in Staffordshire is that this problem would be more easily solved if they had an assurance that the standard of life of the Japanese workers was beginning to approximate to that of workers in Britain, and that there is nothing they would like to see better than that?