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An Imperial Preference Agreement, also known as the Ottawa Agreement, was a trade agreement signed in 1932 between the United Kingdom and its dominions, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and South Africa. The agreement aimed to promote trade between the dominions and the UK by reducing tariffs and promoting the exchange of goods.
The Ottawa Agreement was a significant step towards establishing common trade policies among the British Commonwealth countries. It marked a shift in the UK`s trade policy towards protectionism, as it sought to protect the interests of its domestic industries while promoting the development of its dominions.
Under the Ottawa Agreement, a system of imperial preferences was established, whereby the dominions agreed to lower tariffs on imports from other Commonwealth countries while maintaining higher tariffs on imports from non-Commonwealth countries. This policy aimed to encourage trade between Commonwealth countries and reduce dependence on non-Commonwealth countries.
The imperial preference system had both benefits and drawbacks. On the one hand, it helped to promote economic ties between the UK and its dominions, creating a closer economic relationship among the Commonwealth countries. On the other hand, it also led to higher prices for consumers, as domestic industries were protected from foreign competition and had less incentive to lower prices.
The Ottawa Agreement played an important role in the development of the British Commonwealth, as it established a framework for economic cooperation among member countries. It was also an important step towards achieving greater economic independence for the dominions, as it helped to reduce their reliance on trade with non-Commonwealth countries.
In conclusion, the Imperial Preference Agreement was a landmark trade agreement signed between the UK and its dominions, which helped to promote economic cooperation among member countries and reduce dependence on non-Commonwealth countries. While the agreement had both benefits and drawbacks, it marked an important step towards achieving greater economic independence for the dominions and promoting trade among Commonwealth countries.