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Gatt (Anglo-American Tariff Agreement)

Volume 655: debated on Thursday 8 March 1962

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asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress has been made recently in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade tariff negotiations in Geneva.

Her Majesty's Government have concluded a bilateral tariff agreement with the United States, as have some other countries participating in the negotiations. This is a major step towards the substantial reduction in tariff barriers on a reciprocal basis which was our objective in entering into these negotiations.In the agreement concluded with Britain the United States are, in general, undertaking to reduce by one-fifth their duties on products in which our trade in 1959 was worth about £73 million. Our trade will also benefit from the con- cessions which the United States are undertaking to make to other countries, particularly the European Economic Community, and which will be extended to our goods under the most-favourednation principle; our trade with the United States in 1959 in the products affected was worth over £100 million.Her Majesty's Government are undertaking to make concessions, mostly in the form of reductions by one-fifth, on duties on products of which imports from the United States were valued in 1959 at about £71 million.The benefits which we shall receive under the agreement with the United States will include reductions of the duties applying to civil aircraft, certain machinery and linen manufactures. Among the benefits to our exports from the agreement between the United States and the European Economic Community will be reductions in the duties on motor-vehicles and parts and accessories in the tariffs of both parties to the agreement.In our own tariff, in addition to concessions on the duties on motor-vehicles and parts and accessories, we shall be reducing duties on a wide range of products.In general, the United States intend, in accordance with their legislation, to implement the concessions on their tariff in two equal stages, the first this summer and the second in the summer of 1963. The necessary changes in the British tariff will be brought into effect as soon as practicable. As regards the duties on passenger cars and certain vehicle parts, however, on which we and the European Economic Community will be making reductions of significantly more than one-fifth, it is intended to implement the concessions in three stages corresponding to the stages by which the duties of the individual countries of the European Economic Community are approximated to the duties in the Common Tariff of the Community.I am not at present in a position to make a statement about the negotiations between Britain and the Community.Copies of the schedules of concessions exchanged between Britain and the United States will be placed in the Library.