HC Deb 21 February 1853 vol 124 cc350-1

said, he wished to ask the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Government had been informed by their representatives in Belgium and Holland that a Treaty of Commerce, dated the 5th day of February, 1852, had been concluded between those Goverments, by which Belgian manufactured goods are admitted into Holland at a much lower rate of duty than similar goods from Great Britain, and if the British Government are aware of the fact, whether any and what steps have been taken to induce Holland to place the British industry on a footing of fair competition with Belgium and other nations; also, whether the above is in con- travention of any existing favoured-nation clause between England and Holland?


said, that the favoured-nation clause, to which the hon. Gentleman referred, did not give us any absolute right to ask Holland to admit British goods upon the same footing as Belgian goods entering Holland. The clause would only enable us to do so upon condition that England made reciprocal concessions to Holland; and if we made concessions to Holland, we would be compelled to make similar concessions to other nations, which might be disadvantageous to this country. Therefore no representations such as the hon. Gentleman alluded to had been made to the Government of Holland.