11 NOVEMBER 1932, Page 3

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Tariff or Quota ?

Artificial restrictions on trade are almost invariably bad, but some of them are worse than others. As between the tariff and quota (on the assumption that at present we are to be saddled with one or the other) there is something' to be said on each side. It is quite true, as Lord AStor Submits, that a tariff does at any rate bring in revenue. But it is doubly hard to remove once it is imposed, because not only does the farmer cling to it for protection, but the Treasury clings to it for revenue. The quota, on the other hand, has the undesigned effect of penalizing the home consumer for the benefit of the foreign producer—who gets the higher price which the quota creates and was meant to create. Theoretically the price of imported meat should fall, for there will be increased cOmpetition for a smaller market, but if it does there is no way of passing on the benefit to the consumer without underselling English meat more than ever. The purely logical conclusion would be to control the meat trade and average the prices. But we are hardly ready for Soviet methods yet.