stated, that he wished to put a question to the right hon. the President of the Board of Trade with respect to the state of our trade with France. He had been requested by a number of his constituents to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Government intended to take any steps to procure an alteration as regarded the trade in wool between the two countries. It appeared that French wool could be introduced into our markets without the payment of any duty, whereas, English wool could not be introduced into France, without the payment of an ad valorem duty of twenty-two per cent. This was a manifest injustice to the producers of English wool, and he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman had some information to communicate to the House on the subject.
§ Mr. Poulett Thomson
replied, that he had not ceased to press on the French Government the advantage that they would derive from the reduction of the duty on English wool, as well as other duties; but his exertions had not hitherto been attended with the success he could wish. The hon. Gentleman was under a mistake in supposing that there was no duty on the importation of French wool into this country—there was a small duty on that article. The proceeding of this country, however, only showed how much wiser we were than the French, as it enabled us to manufacture woollens at a much cheaper rate than the French. He would only add, that he would continue to exert himself to instruct the French 1904 government on this point, so as to induce them to adopt a wiser system of commercial policy.