HC Deb 04 June 1886 vol 306 cc1013-4
LORD CLAUD HAMILTON (Liverpool, West Derby)

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether a Commercial Treaty with any Foreign Country granting Most Favoured Nation Treatment, for any term, precludes during such term Her Majesty's Government from granting any special privileges affecting tariffs to British Colonies, as well as to Foreign States; and, whether it is the case that, during the existence of such Treaty between the United Kingdom and any Foreign Country, those of our Colonies and dependencies which possess Legislatures of their own are not free to make whatever fiscal arrangements they choose independently of the Mother Country?


A Commercial Treaty with a foreign country conveying a grant of the most favoured nation treatment does not, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, preclude the grant of special tariff privileges to British Colonies unless some express stipulation to a contrary effect is contained in the Treaty. The question whether the self-governing Colonies can determine their own fiscal arrangements during the existence of a Most Favoured Nation Clause Treaty between the United Kingdom and a foreign country depends on the terms of the Treaty itself. It has of late years been the invariable practice of this country, in making Commercial Treaties, to provide for the omission therefrom of the self-governing Colonies in case they should desire to be omitted. This has been done in the case of the recently concluded Commercial Convention with Spain.