5 OCTOBER 1934, Page 2

Mr. Chamberlain and the Vicious Circle In his speech to

bankers and merchants at the Mansion House last Tuesday, Mr. Chamberlain depicted the condition of British trade with an optimism which was cautiously modified. The distinct improvement in production and employment was mainly the result, in his opinion, of improvement in home trade—and the implication was that this was due to the shelter afforded by restriction of imports. He agreed that there had been some advance in British foreign trade, but he appeared to think that that had gone as far as it is likely to go so long as foreign countries continue their present restrictive policy. He held out little hope of doing more than maintain or slightly increase our share of such foreign trade as is going by the conclusion of commercial treaties. One cannot fail to observe that if all other countries were content—as indeed they are— to adopt Mr. Chamberlain's argument, congratulating themselves on the development of their home markets Under Protection and regretting that the adoption of the same system by other countries made an increase of foreign trade unlikely, there would be no hope anywhere Of getting out of the tangle. Mr: Chamberlain gives an excellent explanation of the position, but no hint of a solution.

* * * *