§ MR. CRAIG SELLAR (Lanarkshire, Partick)
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Whether it is a fact that the Portuguese Government has, for more than two years, suspended the 3 per cent. Transit Duty of goods passing through Portuguese territory to British Settlements on Lake Nyassa and the Shiré Highlands; and, if so, whether Her Majesty's Government have taken any steps to secure the advantages of the transit tariff arranged in 1877; and, whether Her Majesty's Government can safeguard British interests in that region by pressing for a permanent Transit Duty, which will not be liable (as is now the case) to suspension without British concurrence?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE (Sir JAMES FERGUSSON) (Manchester, N. E.)
There is no arrangement as to the Transit Tariff between Great Britain and Portugal. The Mozambique Tariff of 1877 was imposed by Royal Decree, and was purely an act of internal administration. The temporary suspension of the Transit Duty was also pat into operation by Decree. Her Majesty's Government have been assurred that the suspension, which was owing to local causes, will be removed on the first suitable opportunity, due regard being had to fiscal interests. Her Majesty's Government, having no Treaty rights, cannot press the Portuguese Government in the sense suggested.