imperial preference


imperial preference

      historically, a commercial arrangement in which preferential rates (i.e., rates below the general level of an established tariff) were granted to one another by constituent units of an empire. Imperial preference could also include other sorts of preference, such as favourable consideration in the allocation of public contracts, indirect subsidies to shipping, and preferential access to the capital market. Such arrangements were enforced in the first half of the 20th century by most countries with dependent colonies; of these, the British (United Kingdom) imperial preference introduced in 1932 was perhaps the most important.

      With a radical change in tariff policy in 1931 and 1932, the United Kingdom removed the ban on the taxation of food imports, opening the way for a systematic policy of imperial preference. Such a policy—based on the principle of “home producers first, empire producers second, and foreign producers last”—was negotiated at the Imperial Economic Conference in Ottawa in 1932 and took the form of a series of bilateral agreements intended to extend for five years (lacking a formal renewal, they expired after 1937).

      The agreements pledged the United Kingdom to allow the continued free entry of most imperial goods and to impose new tariffs on certain food and metal imports from foreign countries. The dominions (dominion) were to use their tariffs against U.K. produce only in order to protect efficient producers, and both sides were to maintain certain margins of preference. Although the political reasons for the agreements were strong, the effect of the Great Depression, the search for “sheltered markets,” and the spread of the protectionist (protectionism) spirit (evidenced by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of the United States in 1930) were probably more important. Trade within the empire increased after the Ottawa conference, but other factors also contributed to the upswing, including the recovery of prices of primary products and the existence of the sterling bloc, a group of countries that held the bulk of their exchange reserves with the Bank of London. (See sterling area.)

      During and after World War II, exchange problems, commodity agreements, and other factors had more effect on trade than did preferential tariffs. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947—to which the partners of the Ottawa agreements subscribed—prohibited the extension of existing preferences, and in subsequent negotiations the United Kingdom and its partners agreed to some reductions of preferential margins. inflation and trade liberalization, meanwhile, reduced the value of remaining preferences. At the same time, many newly independent members of the Commonwealth also canceled preferences formerly given to British goods.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Imperial Preference — was a proposed system of reciprocally levelled tariffs or free trade agreements between the dominions and colonies within the British Empire. As Commonwealth Preference, the proposal was later revived in connection with the members of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Imperial Preference —    Ideas for a British imperial tariff that became popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Ideas for Imperial Preference took many specific forms, but in general imports from outside the Empire would be taxed at a higher… …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • imperial preference — noun : the preferential lowering of tariff rates accorded in the British Commonwealth to its members * * * imperial preference noun (historical) The favouring of trade within the British Empire by discriminating tariffs • • • Main Entry:… …   Useful english dictionary

  • imperial preference — partiality of the Emperor, instance of the Emperor giving priority …   English contemporary dictionary

  • impérial — impérial, iale, iaux [ ɛ̃perjal, jo ] adj. • XIIIe; emperial 1160; lat. imp. imperialis, de imperium → empire I ♦ 1 ♦ Qui appartient à un empereur, à son autorité, à ses États. Sa Majesté Impériale. Famille impériale. La garde impériale de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Imperial helmet — The Imperial helmet type (known as the Weisenau type in Germany) was a type of helmet worn by Roman legionaries; it replaced the Coolus type, and constituted the final evolutionary stage of the legionary helmet ( galea ).ub classificationThe term …   Wikipedia

  • Imperial Conferences —    Initially known as colonial conferences, imperial conferences were meetings of representatives of the British government and the governments of the self governing colonies of the British Empire. The first was held in London in 1887 during… …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • DOUANIÈRE (PRÉFÉRENCE) — DOUANIÈRE PRÉFÉRENCE Avantage qui est accordé par un pays acheteur à un pays vendeur et qui consiste à frapper les marchandises fournies par ce dernier de droits de douane inférieurs à ceux qui touchent les mêmes produits venant d’autres pays. La …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Joseph Chamberlain — The Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain The Rt. Hon. Joseph Chamberlain Leader of the Opposition …   Wikipedia

  • Europe, history of — Introduction       history of European peoples and cultures from prehistoric times to the present. Europe is a more ambiguous term than most geographic expressions. Its etymology is doubtful, as is the physical extent of the area it designates.… …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.