HC Deb 16 June 1881 vol 262 cc640-2

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether, by Article VIII. of the Treaty between Great Britain and Servia, it is stipulated that Every reduction in the Tariff of Import and Export Duties, as well as every favour or immunity which has been or may hereafter be granted by one of the contracting parties to the subjects or commerce of a third Power, shall be granted simultaneously and unconditionally to the other; whether a lower rate of duties has been granted by Servia to Austria-Hungary on paper, stonework, pottery, glass, iron, and steel, manufactured or partially manufactured, as well as a special favour of immunity in regard to the registration of trademarks; whether the reductions of duty and favours are not granted simultaneously and unconditionally to the subjects and commerce of Great Britain, with the conclusion of the Treaty with the third Power; whether British subjects, traders with Servia, are not at liberty at the present moment to import goods into Servia at the lower rate granted to Austria-Hungary, and to enjoy the same privileges as regards trademarks; and, whether, inasmuch as the duties now levied in Servia on British goods can only be properly ascertained by the text of the Treaty with Austria-Hungary, Her Majesty's Government will place upon the Table the text of that Treaty, which has already been published in German newspapers?


There will be no objection to laying on the Table of the House the text of the Servo-Austrian Treaty and Annexes. Austria, in her Treaty, has obtained from Servia a considerable reduction of duties and other commercial facilities, to some of which British subjects, traders with Servia, at once become entitled under the most favoured nation clause of the Anglo-Servian Treaty. Austria has, however, in virtue of her separate Convention with Servia (signed at Berlin on the 8th of July, 1878, and therefore anterior to the Treaty of Berlin of the 13th of July, 1878), by which the latter engaged to grant the former special facilities in regard to Frontier traffic, obtained preferential duties (50 per cent)—1, on paper for packing, and other similar purposes; 2, on stonework; 3, on such articles of pottery as pipes, stoves, &c.; 4, on common glass; 5, on iron and steel; and 6, on iron and steel partially manufactured. Her Ma- jesty's Government hope that means will be found of obviating any injurious effects to British trade likely to arise from the Austro-Servian Treaty. The arrangement with respect to trade marks is under discussion, and there is every reason to believe both Austria and Servia will readily assent to modify it so that no undue advantage will be taken of it to the detriment of British manufacturers.