HC Deb 02 May 1881 vol 260 cc1539-40

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If he can give to the House any detailed information as to the actual increase of duty to which cotton, linen, and woollen goods, and also hardware and pottery, will be subject under the proposed French General Tariff?


asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If he is aware that the arrangements entered into with the French Government in the Treaty of 1860, with regard to British Sheet and plate glass, have proven to be practically prohibitory; and, further, if he can inform the House what measures he intends adopting in future negotiations for the purpose of obtaining a modification of the existing French Tariff?


The scale of duties under the new general tariff of France is stated to be in general an augmentation of 24 per cent on the present conventional rates. In consequence, however, of the conversion of ad valorem into specific duties, and of changes in classification, it is not possible to give, within the limits of an answer, detailed information as to the actual increase of the new duties. From information which has been received from Chambers of Commerce and competent persons in this country, Her Majesty's Government have reason to believe that on many of the articles mentioned by my hon. Friend the real increase of duty will considerably exceed the nominal increase, and the attention of the French officials has already been called to these points by Mr. Kennedy, and the subject will be fully considered and examined when the formal negotiations begin. In reply to the Question of the hon. Member for Sunderland, I may state that Her Majesty's Government have been informed that the present rates on sheet and plate glass have proved prohibitory, and every effort will be made to procure a reduction of them. I would wish to add that on the promulgation of the general tariff of France, which must take place before the 8th instant, copies will be sent to all the Chambers of Commerce in this country, with the request that any observations which they may desire to make in addition to those already received, may be transmitted without delay.