§ 1. Mr. REMER
asked the Secretary of State for India what advantages have 2 accrued to Lancashire trade from the agreement between His Excellency the Viceroy and Mr. Gandhi; and if he is aware that the economic boycott still persists although the political boycott was under the agreement to be discontinued?
§ 3. Mr. DOUGLAS HACKING
asked the Secretary of State for India whether the Government will now take active steps to insist upon the Irwin-Gandhi agreement being kept, in view of the fact that the policy of toleration has resulted in further outbreaks and damage to the export trade of this country to India?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Benn)
The purpose of the agreement was to put a stop to the use of boycott of British goods as a political weapon. It was no part of the agreement to deny the right to any body of Indian citizens to use all legitimate means of persuasion for the purpose of the encouragement of Indian industry. I have every reason to believe that, speaking generally, the agreement is being implemented, and it can be stated with certainty that discrimination against British goods, as such, has been in the main withdrawn. Any cases of alleged breach of the agreement which may be brought to my notice by the right hon. Gentleman or others concerned I will make the subject of immediate investiga- 3 tion. The right hon. Gentleman will not overlook the effect produced in this and other kindred economic fields by the depression of agricultural prices, which has imposed such a severe hardship on, and so adversely affected the purchasing power of, the major part of India's population.
§ Mr. HACKING
Has the right hon. Gentleman read the speech delivered by the Governor of the Punjab recently, and does that represent the feeling and policy of His Majesty's Government?
§ 13. Mr. BRACKEN
asked the Secretary of State for India whether, in view of the numerous breaches of the peace and the continuance of the boycott against British goods, His Majesty's Government will immediately denounce the agreement made between Lord Irwin and Mr. Gandhi?
§ Mr. BRACKEN
Are we, therefore, to understand that while the hands of the Government of India are bound by this agreement, the Congress party can continue to use it as a means of breaking the law and doing everything possible to boycott British goods?
§ 28. Mr. HACKING
asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether His Majesty's Trade Commissioners in India have yet completed their investigation of the competitive situation in bleached cotton goods in that country; and, if so, when he expects this report to be communicated to the trade?
§ Mr. GILLETT (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)
No, Sir. I am taking steps, however, to ascertain how long it will take to complete this report.
§ 30. Sir ARTHUR STEEL-MAITLAND
asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether he will instruct the British Trade Commissioner to India, or in his absence from India the Assistant Commissioner, to send by telegraph weekly reports on developments in the position of British trade, and in particular the condition of the boycott of foreign goods and the extent to which discrimination is exercised against British goods?
§ Mr. GILLETT
The Trade Commissioner already keeps the Department in as close touch as possible with the position by furnishing frequent despatches by air mail. In these circumstances, I do not feel that any special advantage would be gained by adopting the right hon. Member's suggestion.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
Will the Minister publish information periodically, in order that the House and those interested in the trade may know of the development of the situation?
§ 69. Captain PETER MACDONALD
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can estimate to what extent the proposed new luxury duties in the Indian Customs Tariff will affect British trade?
§ Mr. GILLETT
I assume that the hon. and gallant Member has in mind the classes of commodities comprised in what the Finance Member of the Indian Government describes as the luxury schedule, i.e., those on which the duty has recently been increased from 30 per cent. ad valorem to 10 per cent. The value of such commodities imported from the United Kingdom in 1929–30 was approximately£600,000, but I am not in a position to estimate what the effect of the change on this trade is likely to be.
§ Captain MACDONALD
Has the hon. Gentleman made any protest to the Indian Government in reference to these duties?