HC Deb 08 July 1880 vol 253 c1894

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If his attention has been called to statements which have appeared in the newspapers to the effect that a movement has been set on foot in Germany for obtaining a "surtaxe d'entrepot," whereby importations of foreign produce, via ports in Great Britain or Ireland, will be subjected to greater taxation than if imported direct; and, whether Her Majesty's Government has reason to believe that such a measure is in contemplation, and that we are likely to be placed at a disadvantage in trading with Germany unless the Duties upon German wines are reduced simultaneously with those upon French and Spanish wines? It was needless to ask the latter part of the Question, as he understood that it was the intention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to abandon the idea of reducing the duty on French and Spanish wines.


The statement of my right hon. Friend was, not that he entirely abandoned the intention of reducing the wine duties, but that he proposed to postpone the matter till the beginning of next Session. With respect to the Question, I have to say that a measure of this nature has been discussed in Germany; but it does not appear to have been brought before the German Legislature. The Commercial Treaty between this country and Germany contains the usual Most Favoured Nation Clause; and Her Majesty's Government do not, therefore, see how the trade between Great Britain and Germany could be placed at a disadvantage in relation to other foreign trade with that country.