Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
Perhaps a short explanation might be in order at this stage. The bill is the usual form of bill adopted by parliament heretofore in connection with the ratification of conventions between Canada and different countries, and I believe there will be no difficulty in adopting the sections as they come before the committee. I should like to make a statement however with respect to the convention attached as a schedule to the bill.
The convention of commerce between Canada and Poland now submitted to the house for approval should be the means of giving Canada ready access to the Polish market for the first time since the establishment of the Polish republic.
The republic of Poland is one of the larger and more populous of the states of Europe, having an area of nearly 140,000 square miles and a population of over 32,000,000, showing the very considerable average density of 222 persons to the square mile. The import trade of Poland in 1934 amounted to a value of 8148,569,360, of which Canada according to the Polish returns supplied only $38,688. According to our Canadian trade returns, in the fiscal year ending March, 1935, Canada imported from Poland and Danzig goods to the value of $154,309 and exported Canadian products to the value of S402,067. I have a statement with me giving the details of the principal products imported from and exported to Poland and Danzig in the last three fiscal years.
Canada-Poland Trade Agreement
Canadian trade with Poland hitherto has been handicapped by the absence of a trade agreement. Up to October 11, 1933, the Polish tariff system comprised (1) normal tariff; (2) maximum tariff (three times as high as the normal tariff); and (3) conventional rates on some goods lower than the normal tariff. While the normal tariff was extended to Canada, conventional rates were withheld and, moreover, the import licence system of Poland was administered in a manner so as to make it very difficult to obtain licences to import Canadian goods.
A new Polish tariff came into force on October 11, 1933, which has restricted the sale to Poland of most Canadian products. This tariff established two sets of rates, those in column I being applicable to merchandise originating in countries with which Poland does not have commercial treaty arrangements. The rates in column II are applicable to countries enjoying "most favoured nation'' treatment, and are, on the average, about 20 per cent lower than those in column I. In addition there is a third column consisting of special rates of duty provided for in trade treaties which Poland has concluded with other countries. These special rates of duty usually represent considerable reductions below the rates provided for in column II of the Polish tariff.
The convention of commerce will result in Canada securing most favoured nation treatment in Poland. Consequently, Canadian goods would benefit not only from the rates in column II of the Polish tariff, but also from the special rates provided for in treaties concluded with other countries. If no convention of commerce is concluded, Canadian goods would be subject to the rates of duty provided for in column I, or the highest rates of duty in the Polish tariff.
In addition, schedule A of the convention of commerce provides for special reduced rates of duty on some products which are of particular interest to Canada. These reductions in Polish duties, expressed in Canadian currency at par of exchange, are as follows: Herrings, preserved:
Weighing more than 500 grams, 12-J reduced' to 4J cents per pound.
Weighing 500 grams or less, 17i reduced to 6 cents per pound.
Canned salmon, 40 reduced to 12 cents per pound.
Sardines, 40 reduced to 14 cents per pound.
Canned lobsters, $1 reduced to 25 cents per pound.
In whole or half skins, $1.11 reduced to 50 cents per pound.
In cuttings or pieces, $1.22 reduced to 55 cents per pound.
Silver fox skins, $25 reduced to $5 per pound.
Chemical wood pulp for the manufacture of paper, 75 reduced to 40 cents per 100 pounds.
Chemical wood pulp, other, 75 reduced to 50 cents per 100 pounds.
Ice skates, 15 reduced to 10 cents per pound.
These calculations have been made at par of exchange. In order to arrive at the equivalents of the Polish duties at the current rate of exchange it would be necessary to add approximately 66 per cent to the amounts given in this statement.
In addition, the convention of commerce provides that Canada shall receive treatment in respect to quotas as favourable as that extended to the importation of similar articles from other countries. Many classes of goods are subject to restrictions on importation into Poland. As a result of the conclusion of the convention of commerce, quotas will be established for the principal products which we desire to ship to Poland on a basis agreed upon between the two governments. Among other products which should benefit from the establishment of a quota is fresh apples, the trade in which has hitherto been restricted by the difficulty which importers in Poland have experienced in securing licences for the importation of apples from Canada owing to the fact that there has been no trade treaty between the two countries.
The tariff concessions granted by Canada to Poland are embodied in schedule B to the convention. These relate to twenty-one items of the Canadian customs tariff. In the case of nine items the effect of the concession is to consolidate free entry for articles which are now free of duty under all tariffs. Books printed in Poland and in the Polish or Ukrainian language, covered by items numbers 169 and 171 of the Canadian customs tariff, will be made free of duty. In the case of item 171 it was necessary to obtain the concurrence of His Majesty's government in the United Kingdom because this item being included in schedule E to the trade agreement between Canada and the United Kingdom, the margin of preference had been guaranteed. The duty on positive moving picture films made in Poland and speaking the Polish or Ukrainian language, if one and one-eight of an inch in width and over, will be cut in half. To this item and to those relating to books in the Polish or Ukrainian language the government of Poland attach importance from the point of view of cultural rather than of commercial relations. The concessions in respect to the remaining nine items covered by the convention involve discounts from the intermediate tariff varying from 10 to 45 per cent. In the case of two items, those relating
Fruit and Honey Act
to clover seeds and to furniture, similar concessions are embodied in the trade agreement with France, so that no further reductions will be extended to most favoured nations by the granting to Poland of the concessions respecting these products. The other concessions granted to Poland relate to the following products:
Manufactures of alabaster, n.o.p.;
Cut, pressed, moulded or crystal glass tableware, decorated or not;
Blown glass tableware and other cut glass ware;
Horse hair, curled or dyed, n.o.p.;
Trunks, valises, hat boxes, carpet bags, tool bags and baskets of all kinds, n.o.p.;
Ornaments, statues and statuettes of alabaster.
When the convention comes into force the duties on these products, imported from countries entitled to most favoured nation treatment, will be reduced to the extent of the discounts from the intermediate tariff specified in schedule B.
I shall be pleased to answer any question I may concerning the different sections, as they are reached.
Subtopic: CANADA-POLAND TRADE AGREEMENT