Volume #17 - 646.|
RELATIONS AVEC LE COMMONWEALTH
RELATIONS AVEC DES PAYS PARTICULIERS
RÉGIME D'IMPORTATION EN QUANTITÉS COMMERCIALES MINIMES
Procès-verbal de la réunion du Comité interministériel|
sur la politique du commerce extérieur
le 28 juin 1951|
A meeting of the Interdepartmental Committee on External Trade Policy was held on Wednesday, June 27, 1951, at 3:15 p.m. in the Privy Council Committee Room.
Mr. N.A. Robertson, Secretary to the Cabinet (Chairman), Mr. J.G. Taggart, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mr. W.F. Bull, Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce, Mr. H.B. McKinnon, Chairman of the Tariff Board, Mr. David Sim, Deputy Minister of National Revenue, Mr. K.W. Taylor, Assistant Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr. A.F.W. Plumptre, Department of External Affairs.
Mr. R.G. Robertson, Privy Council Office, (Secretary).
Mr. J.J. Deutsch, Department of Finance, Mr. T.G. Major, Canadian Trade Commissioner, Trinidad, etc. Mr. C.M. Isbister, Department of Trade and Commerce.
TRADE DISCUSSIONS WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE WEST INDIES
1. The Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce said that a delegation would be arriving late that day to begin discussions the following day on Canada-West Indies trade. The delegation would consist of the following:
Hon. W.A. Bustamante,
Minister of Communications and Leader of the House of Representatives, Jamaica. Hon. A. Gomes,
Minister of Labour, Industry & Commerce, Trinidad. Mr. G.H. Adams,
Leader of the House of Assembly, Barbados. Hon. W.A. Raatgever,
Member of the Executive Council, and also
Member of the Legislative Council, British Guiana. Mr. H.E. Robinson,
representing British West Indies Sugar Association, and also
a Member of the Executive Council.
Mr. H.A. Youngman,
representing Incorporated Chambers of Commerce.
Secretary of the Sugar Association.
Mr. R. Newton,
Financial Secretary, Jamaica, as adviser to delegates from Jamaica.
Secretary to Mr. Bustamante.
It was not entirely clear just what the delegation would wish to discuss. There had originally been a proposal that the delegation should come direct to Canada, in part to voice protests over the sugar arrangement entered into with Cuba.73The United Kingdom had persuaded the delegation to go first to London and their visit here was en route from the United Kingdom. It was known that the British West Indies did not like the discussion of trade liberalization that had taken place in the U.K.-Canada Continuing Committee without West Indies representation.74 It was quite possible that, after the discussion in London, the West Indies group would now attempt to sell all over again the relaxations for which there had been negotiation in the Continuing Committee. They could be expected to be particularly concerned about sugar and bananas. The preference margins which the West Indies enjoyed on molasses, sugar and cocoa beans had been reduced with the reduction in MEN. rates. They would undoubtedly try to have the former margins restored.
2. Mr. Major said that the 1925-26 Trade Agreement75 had operated very favourably for the British West Indies and they would undoubtedly like to see their position under it reestablished. Under the Agreement, Canadian sales to the British West Indies~before the war had amounted to over $80 million per year. Last year this had fallen to $33 million, while Canadian purchases were $67 million. The decline in Canadian exports was partly due to competition and partly to restrictions imposed against dollar imports.
3. Mr. Isbister said he thought it probable that a principal objective of the delegation would be to secure some commitment as to Canadian policy on sugar after the expiration of the 3-year arrangement with Cuba.
4. Mr. Deutsch said he thought it was essential that no commitments should be given as to what would be done three years from now. It could be made clear that the Canadian government was dissatisfied with the operation of the 1925-26 trade agreement. If trade arrangements operated successfully and satisfactorily during the next three years it might not be necessary to go further along the lines that had been adopted in the Cuban arrangement.
5. The Chairman said one thing was clear - that no hope should be held out to the delegation that there could be any increase in their preference margins through raising the rates against other countries. In any discussion on the probable result of satisfactory trade developments over the next three years, there should not be any suggestion that the status quo under the 1925-26 Agreement could be re-estab-lished. It would be a mistake to give the impression that that was a probable objective.
It seemed likely that the West Indies representatives would wish to raise questions about shipping. In that connection it would be useful to know the magnitude of the subsidies that had been given from this end. The position of T.C.A. would also be worth discussing.
So far as sugar was concerned, it seemed doubtful whether there was any way out of the present impasse except through a new general commodity agreement. The most important step would be a general revision of U.S. sugar policy. A commodity agreement of general application was clearly not a matter that could be dealt with in the present discussions but the possibility of having to come to some such solution of current problems constituted an argument against making any long-term commitments concerning Canadian policy.
6. The Committee, after further discussion, agreed that the delegation from the British West Indies be met by members of the Committee on External Trade Policy under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce to discuss such matters as might be raised, regard to be had in the discussions to the points developed in the course of the Committee's discussion.
73 Voir le document 979./See Document 979.
74 Voir le document 615./See Document 615.
75Voir/See United Kingdom, State Papers, Volume 123, 1926 Part I, pp. 578-588.