HC Deb 01 April 1884 vol 286 cc1269-70

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether, in negotiating with Spain in regard to a Commercial Treaty, he will bear in mind that at the present time thirteen millions of gallons of German spirits come into England from Spain under the disguise of wine, paying a much less duty than is charged on English spirits; and, whether any steps will be taken to prevent the admission of this so-called wine at one shilling duty, and of a higher strength, causing damage to the English distiller, and to the largest source of our revenue?


The hon. Member has apparently taken the whole importation of wine in cask—namely, about 13,000,000 gallons, to represent the importation of wine from Spain only, and he has then assumed; that the whole quantity is German spirit under the disguise of wine. I may, however, state, to avoid misapprehen sion, that the total importation of wino from Spain is about 5,000,000 gallons; but there is no evidence as to the quantity fortified with any particular class of spirit. There are, at present, no commercial negotiations proceeding; but, in any that have taken place, care has always been taken to provide against the introduction of spirits under the guise of wine.