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British Commonwealth Preferential Tariff Agreement

It is because this process of change takes place in the economies of each Commonwealth country and elsewhere that we have had different experiences with each country of common wealth with the system of preferences between them and us. It`s absolutely inevitable. I am not complaining, of course, because it is our duty in this country to recognize the changing economics of each Commonwealth country and to try to deal with it as pragmatically as we did in Ottawa with the Commonwealth as a whole. Canada (1897), New Zealand (1903), South Africa (1903) and Australia (1907) did so quickly. This initial policy of imperial preference differed in several respects, including whether imperial preference was extended to the British Empire or only to Great Britain, whether the preference was divided by tariff reductions for Empire imports or tariff increases for ades-Empire imports, and whether the preference applied to all goods or only selected goods. Table 1 outlines the main features of the Dominions` original imperial preferential policy. In these times of global depression, we have tried to mow trade again in this great part of the world over which we had the most direct influence and assistance, and the instrument chosen at the time was bilateral agreements with each of these Commonwealth countries. They had to be bilateral because the internal conditions were different in each of the Commonwealth countries. That is why they had to be bilateral. Since then, the conditions have really improved and I hope that this is important when it comes to negotiating and deciding with whom we will negotiate. I am not complaining about these agreements; It is a perfectly legitimate policy if the United States wants to participate.

What I divert the most is when they prevent us from using customs discrimination in favour of the Commonwealth through pressures like G.A.T.T.T.T. I do not think the Commonwealth preference system has ever caused direct harm to the United States. Beginning in 1898, when the Dominions gave a unilateral preference to Great Britain, trade between Commonwealth countries increased in both directions. There is a long history of preferential trade agreements in the British Empire. The agreements were a system known as an imperial preference. The origins of imperial preference date back to the Edwardian era, which lasted from the late 1890s until the beginning of the First World War. The imperial preference policy adopted by the Dominions (Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia) during the Edwardian era can serve as a benchmark for possible post-Brexit Commonwealth trade agreements, particularly the impact of such agreements on UK exports. The UK is a member of the European Union and has not been able to negotiate its own trade agreements for several decades. However, after the UK`s formal withdrawal from the European Union, it may again be able to negotiate its own trade agreements. While the UK was in the EU, it actively lobbied the EU to pursue trade agreements with other Commonwealth countries.

[9] This has in part led the EU to enter into negotiations for free trade agreements with a number of Commonwealth countries. Currently, Canada and India are in the midst of free trade agreement negotiations with the European Union. [10] In addition, a number of Commonwealth countries, including South Africa, Cameroon, Zambia and the 12 Commonwealth members of the Caribbean Community, have already concluded free trade agreements with the EU. [11] [12] The EU, through the Lomé and Cotonou Conventions, has extended some preferential access to developing Commonwealth countries. [13] The Ottawa proceedings resulted in 12 trade agreements; seven between the United Kingdom and various Commonwealth countries – including the Irish Free State, as it was then called, and South Africa – and five agreements between the Commonwealth countries itself.

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