HC Deb 11 February 1842 vol 60 cc293-5
Dr. Bowring

rose to put the question of which he had given notice, and which he had postponed to afford the right hon. Baronet an opportunity of gaining a knowledge of the facts; and it would be necessary for him to make a short statement. By the old commercial conventions with the Ottoman empire a duty of three per cent. was levied on all goods ex- ported from, or imported into, Turkey. In the progress of time a great many abuses and monopolies were introduced into the interior of the country. In order to induce the Turkish government to remove those abuses, which that government contended did not affect the treaties with foreign powers, our government had agreed to allow a further duty of nine per cent. on exports, and two per cent. on imports, as an equivalent for the overthrow of internal taxation and monopoly, making a total of twelve per cent, on exports, and five per cent, on imports. The Turkish government thereupon abolished the internal taxes, and, having so abolished them, Russia and other countries, who were not parties to the treaty of 1838, said," we will stand upon the antient regulation;" and at this moment, while the exports to Great Britain were charged with a duty of 12 per cent., the exports to Russia were only charged with a duty of 3 per cent.; and while the subjects of her Majesty paid a duty of 5 per cent, imports, the subjects of Russia and other countries, not parties to the treaty, only paid a duty of 3 per cent. He would, therefore, ask the right hon. Baronet whether he was cognizant of the fact, and if he were, whether any steps had been taken to make representation to the Turkish government, or to give effect to another clause in the treaty, by which it was stipulated that Great Britain should be placed on the terms of the most favoured nation?

Sir R. Peel

believed that, with the exception of Russia, and perhaps Naples, every country in Europe had entered into a treaty with Turkey, similar to that entered into by this country in 1838. What the hon. Gentleman had stated was perfectly true, and Russia continued to have the advantage of exporting and importing goods on more favourable terms than other countries. The Russian tariff, however, would, he believed, expire in 1843. The question was, whether Turkey had not entered into incompatible treaties. She had entered into a treaty with Russia, that Russia should send imports and receive exports at certain duties, and with this country into another treaty at higher rates of duty. Whether the other article of the treaty, therefore, by which we were entitled to the position of the most favoured nation, could be enforced, was a matter of grave consideration. The rates of duty in the convention of 1838, were distinctly specified. He should not have the slightest objection to the production of the consular returns when they arrived, for the purpose of showing the effects of the treaty in different parts of Turkey.

Dr. Bowring,

after the production of those papers, would call the attention of the House to the effects of these duties in Turkey.