HC Deb 28 April 1887 vol 314 cc237-8
MR. WEBSTER (St. Pancras, E.)

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether the negotiations entered into for the renewal of the Cobden Treaty with France, which lapsed in 1882, failed owing to the opposition of France; and, whether the Government now propose to again enter into negotiations with the French Government for the renewal of a Commercial Treaty with that country for a fixed term?


The negotiations for the conclusion of a new Treaty to take the place of the Cobden Treaty of 1860 failed owing to the divergence of the views of the two Governments. In the main, Her Majesty's Government represented the desire of British manufacturers that the existing duties should be lowered, while the French Customs authorities desired the substitution of specific for ad valorem duties. The pro- ceedings are fully stated in the Correspondence laid before Parliament in 1882 (Commercial No. 9). There is no reason now to believe that any good result would be obtained by a proposal on our part to renew the negotiations. The public sentiment in France and in the French Legislature is more than ever in favour of fostering native industry and protecting home trade. England and France reciprocally grant to the trade of each other under their domestic legislation the benefit of treatment as of the most favoured nation.