HC Deb 05 May 1856 vol 141 cc2034-5

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether there was any prospect of such a revision of the tariff, appended to the commercial treaty with Turkey of the 16th of August, 1838, as might lead to the abolition of the duty of twelve per cent on grain and pulse exported from Turkey to this country; and what was the existing position of the British merchants with reference to the exportation of grain from the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia.


Sir, there was concluded between this country and Turkey, in 1838, a convention regulating the duties of export and import in Turkey. With regard to export, the ancient duty of three per cent was confirmed and continued. Previously to that there had been a great number of fluctuating and oppressive internal duties levied upon Turkish produce, bought by British subjects for exportation—duties varying in amount and liable to arbitrary fluctuation. Those rates were commuted at that time for a fixed duty of nine per cent, which, added to the fixed duty of three per cent, made a total of twelve per cent; but instead of leaving that export duty of nine per cent to be levied ad valorem upon the fluctuating value of the commodity, either at the port of embarkation or the place of purchase, it was agreed that a fixed tariff should be established declaring for seven years the value of each commodity, upon which value the nine percent was to be levied. This tariff has been revised from time to time, and at the present moment the two Governments might, by the existing agreement, again revise it; but Her Majesty's Government has not thought it expedient to enter into that revision while prices were artificially raised by a state of war. The hon. Member is too well informed on these subjects to render it necessary for me to point out to him the circumstances which would not render that revision at the present moment particularly desirable. With regard to the Danubian provinces, I have to state that they regulate their own Customs' duties, and I believe at present there is no other duty levied upon the export of grain from those provinces except the duty of three per cent. The Turkish tariff does not apply to the Danubian provinces.


said, he was induced by certain reports, which had obtained circulation on the subject, to ask the noble Lord if the Turkish Government ever offered to Her Majesty's Government to do away with the internal duties upon the transport of goods?


I am not aware that any offer has been made by the Turkish Government on the subject, except one for the commutation established by the treaty I have just mentioned.