noun[mass noun] historical
A system of tariff concessions granted by members of the British Empire or Commonwealth to one another.
- A century of free trade was buried at the Ottawa Conference in 1932 when a new commercial system of tariffs and imperial preference, due to last until the 1970s, was inaugurated.
- Breaking down this sterling zone and British system of imperial preference became a central US goal.
- The Lyons government that replaced it at the end of 1931 modified the tariff to provide for imperial preference but did little to reduce protection in a world economy that had abandoned free trade.
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