HC Deb 11 July 1890 vol 346 cc1464-5
MR. HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can state what action the German Government proposes to take in response to the representations of German traders as to the effect of the new American tariff; and if, having regard to the certain injury the proposed prohibitory rates will inflict on this country, advantage can be taken of the present friendly relations to develop free trade between the United Kingdom and Germany, as also between the United Kingdom and the colonies, as a set off against the hostile tariffs of America?


It is not likely that any such representation as that proposed would be attended with success.


I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman if the attention of the Government has been called to the public declarations of Mr. Blaine, Secretary of State at Washington, to the effect that he is willing to propose to free American ports to nations of the American Continent, giving free trade to the products of the United States; and if, having regard to the free market accorded in the United Kingdom to competing American goods for the past 40 years, while the heavy duties imposed on British goods have nearly extinguished the National Debt of the United States, Her Majesty's Minister can be instructed to invite the American Government to refrain from pressing the prohibitory tariff proposals now before Congress, and to give Great Britain and Ireland fair commercial reciprocity?


We have reason to believe that the German Government do not propose to take any action at present in the matter of the United States Tariff Bill. I do not clearly understand what species of arrangement my hon. Friend proposes in the second paragraph, but, as far as I can see, it would be inconsistent with the fiscal system of this country.