HC Deb 10 May 1883 vol 279 cc413-4

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether Her Majesty's Government have been in communication with the German Government upon the subject of the large bounties now given upon the export of sugar from Germany; and, if so, what is likely to be the result; and, whether, considering that the French sugar growers are pressing their Government (in consequence of the large export from Germany under bounty) to raise the surtax upon all sugar imported into Prance to a rate that will be prohibitory to British as well as to German sugar, Her Majesty's Government will now carry out the recommendation of the Select Committee on Sugar Industries, and obtain a Conference of the Powers interested, or take other steps to bring about a settlement of the question?


Her Majesty's Government have been in communication with the British Ambassador at Berlin, and have unofficially communicated to the German authorities the representations of the West India Committee with regard to the German sugar bounties. Her Majesty's Ambassador is of opinion that a proposal for a Conference would not be entertained. I would remind the hon. Member that in 1881 inquiries were made of the Governments of France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Austria as to whether they would agree to take part in an International Conference for the removal of bounties on the export of sugar; that the German and Dutch Governments then declined to participate in such a Conference, and that the French Government would only accept the suggestion conditionally. As regards the pressure which the hon. Member states the French sugar growers are bringing to bear upon the French Government to induce them to raise the surtax upon all sugar imported, I have no information which would lead me to suppose that such an agitation is likely to be successful.