§ MR. GREGSON
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for India if the Report be correct that the Tariff value of Cotton Goods on importation into India has been raised from £100 to about £150; and whether the previous Duty of five per cent on £100 is to be raised to 10 per cent on £150, thereby fixing a Duty of 15 per cent in place of 5 per cent; and, secondly, if the Report be correct to ask if this excessive scale of Duties will be sanctioned by the Council of India?
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
said, he could not take upon himself to answer exactly the questions of his hon. Friend, as he had not himself received any account of the tariff arrangements which had been entered into. He was not, therefore, prepared to say what would be the effect of the changes made on the various descriptions of goods; but he might state generally what had been the course proposed by Mr. Wilson. It appeared that Mr. Wilson had found that there were different rates charged on the admission of manufactured goods into Calcutta, some being charged 5, some 10, and some as high' as 20 per cent, and he had thought it right to fix the whole at a uniform rate of 10 per cent, the effect of which would be to lower the rate of duty on some goods and raise it on others. But he (Sir Charles Wood) understood the question of his hon. Friend to refer not so much to the rate of duty as to the valuation, which was in some cases found to be too low and had been raised. He had had the honour to receive a deputation of manufacturers on this subject, who complained a good deal of the effect of the rate of duty as not sufficiently approximating to an ad valorem rate. His hon. Friend was of course aware that there existed a long standing controversy as to the comparative merits of fixed rates and ad valorem duties. It had been represented to him that there was considerable hardship in the proposed arrangements, and the manufacturers whom he saw had sent him samples of goods, ac* companied with a statement showing the inequality of the proposed duties. These samples, with the explanations, had been sent to Calcutta by the first mail which left after they had been received at the India House, with directions that the Indian Government should take such measures as would make the rates bear as fairly as possible on all descriptions of goods, and no doubt that injunction would be complied 1653 with. Indeed, they knew by a telegraphic message that the question was at that time under the consideration of the Government there.