HC Deb 08 March 1886 vol 303 cc97-8
MR. HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, What are the instructions to Her Majesty's diplomatic and consular representatives in Foreign Countries with regard to the advancement of British commercial interests, and the assistance to be afforded to British traders; and, if, in order to assist the depressed condition of commerce and manufacture, Her Majesty's Government will enjoin upon its officials abroad the necessity of increased activity in this respect, encourage their zeal by all possible means, and direct Reports to be made, at least quarterly, from all parts of the World, and published for the information of the commercial community throughout the Empire, upon the condition of general trade within their several districts, and special Reports concerning British trade, and the new markets which are likely to offer an advantageous field for British enterprise?


Her Majesty's Diplomatic officers are instructed "to make the commercial interests of Great Britain an object of their constant attention," and the general instructions for the guidance of Her Majesty's Consular officers state that— It is the duty of Consular officers to protect and to promote the lawful trade of Great Britain by every fair and proper means, and to uphold the rights and privileges of British merchants. My hon. Friend will have learnt from the speeches made on the 24th ultimo, at the dinner of the Associated Chambers of Commerce, at which, I believe, he was himself present, that Her Majesty's Government had then already taken steps with a view to a full consideration of the manner in which the services of Her Majesty's Diplomatic and Consular officers could be turned to the best advantage for the promotion of British trade abroad. Suggestions on the subject have been invited from the Chambers of Commerce, and my hon. Friend may be well assured that Her Majesty's Government are fully sensible of the importance of prompt action in this matter. I may add that a Notice calling attention to it has been standing on the Order Book for some weeks past, in the name of the hon. Member for Stafford, and now stands as the first Order for April 2.