Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement

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The Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement was signed on 25 April 1938 by Ireland and the United Kingdom.[1] It aimed to resolve the Anglo-Irish Trade War which had been on-going from 1933.

The treaty stated that the 20% tariffs that both the United Kingdom and Ireland placed on their respective imported goods were to be abolished.

Ireland was also to pay a final one time £10 million sum to the United Kingdom for the "land annuities" derived from financial loans originally granted to Irish tenant farmers by the British government to enable them purchase lands under the Irish Land Acts pre-1922, a provision which was part of the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty (to compensate Anglo-Irish land-owners for compulsory purchase of their lands in Ireland mainly through the Irish Land Commission).

The Trade Agreement was portrayed as advantageous for the newly reconstituted Irish state, as the remaining land annuities liability under a 1925 agreement was £11.75 millions (in annual repayments of £250,000 over sixty years). The apparently favourable saving of £1,175,000 was made much of on the Irish side, but more than matched what the British would have gradually lost over the 47 years, if the value was discounted on the Time value of money basis. It was convenient for both sides to close the matter.

The United Kingdom also ended its use of the "Treaty Ports" (Queenstown (Cobh), Berehaven and Lough Swilly) as agreed in the Anglo-Irish Treaty that ended the Anglo-Irish War.

The Trade Agreement including the return of the Treaty Ports was given effect in the United Kingdom through the Eire (Confirmation of Agreements) Act 1938.


  1. ^ Irish Treaty Series, No. 1 of 1938, "Agreements between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom, London, 25 April 1938."

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