The resolution to be introduced embodies a schedule comprising 262 tariff items which have been amended in rates or wording, or both. This schedule, since tariff items run necessarily in numerical sequence, covers not only the concessions granted by Canada to the United Kingdom but also those arising cut of the negotiations with various other units of the British commonwealth.
Of the total of 262 above referred to, some 37 are existing items in which the amendments are purely technical in character-mere changes in wording necessitated by the insertion of the new items resulting from the-conference. This means, therefore, that there will be introduced to the house 225 substantive tariff items which actually alter our existing tariff schedules; and on 223 of these the British preference is materially increased. Nor is this increased preference granted in any piecemeal fashion; although by far the greater
Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements
number of the concessions concern, for the present at least, only the United Kingdom, the preferences afforded to the mother country are extended, without reservation, to the various dominions and colonies.
The 223 items above mentioned as those on which the empire trading margin is widened may be classified as follows:
Items in which the result is secured by:
(a) reduction of the British preferential rate only
81(b) increase in the intermediate or general rate, or both
89(c) reduction in the British preferential rate accompanied by increases in the intermediate or general rate,or both
49(d) reduction in all rates
2(e) increase in all rates
1(f) reduction in British preferentialand intermediate rates
As the tabulated items will appear in Votes and Proceedings, they will bear ratings in two parallel columns-"Proposed" and "Present". An analysis of the latter column will reveal 81 items free of duty under the British preferential tariff; a count of the "Proposed" column will show 137 such free items.
Important as is each item in this schedule from the point of view of inter-empire and world trade, the mere arithmetical total thereof does not begin to reveal the significance of the proposed fiscal arrangement. In some cases one new item-such as, for instance, that covering chemicals and drugs of a kind not produced in Canada-embraces within its few words a field of trade and commerce that is almost illimitable, and that will grow in scope with the development of science and industry. Again, from various large group divisions of our tariff sets of key items have been selected for empire-treatment; often these key items may represent only one-tenth of the total number of any given commodity-group but may be responsible for nine-tenths of the imports within that group. Further, the items amended are very largely those which were earmarked by various of the imperial delegates as those in which they were peculiarly and especially interested and therefore may fairly be described as meeting, by and large, the desires of those other portions of the empire which came to Ottawa in search of wider avenues of trade.
Considering only the major groups which are comprised within the proposals now to be
[Mr. Bennett. 1
tabled, we may begin with that relating to iron and steel. The basic forms of these were the subject of unofficial industrial conversations at Montreal, just prior to the conference, between the producers of the United Kingdom and Canada; and the legislation now proposed will, it is believed, crystallize in tariff verbiage the spirit of those negotiations which were conducted in an atmosphere of hearty cooperation and good will. The first feature of these proposals is a very material widening of the preference on primary forms of great commercial importance, such as steel plate; black, galvanized and tinned sheets; boiler plate; and various kinds of strip and hoop steel. Duties under the British preferential tariff are removed entirely on poundage steel in bars, large bars for shafting; casement sections, rust and heat-resisting steels, silicon sheets for electrical use, cooperage steel, tramway rails, heavy structural shapes and sections, centre and side sills for steel cars, hollow forgings, power equipment for dairying purposes, automobile engines of heavy rating, telephone and radio apparatus and special-type storage batteries. On steel tires, railway axles, wire products, steel chains, certain machinery, cutlery and small tools, the preferential margin is widened. Automobiles, motor trucks and motorcycles are embraced in the iron and steel schedule and these are made free of duty under the British preferential tariff.