§ MR. HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies if there is any commercial department in the Colonial Office, as in the Foreign Office, engaged in actively collating commercial information concerning all British Possessions and making it known to the mercantile community in the United Kingdom and throughout the Empire to the advantage of mutual trade; and if he can state the total amount of the volume of trade in 1889 between the Mother Country and British Colonies and Dependencies (including India), and between the Colonies and Dependencies (including India) themselves?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Baron H. de WORMS, Liverpool, East Toxteth)
There is no such commercial department in the Colonial Office; the duty is undertaken by the statistical department of the Board of Trade, which is furnished with all the materials for the purpose. The results are published annually by the Board of Trade, and are laid before Parliament in the Colonial Statistical Abstract, which is on sale to the public. The Colonial Office also annually lays before Parliament separate Reports from each colony; and. under arrangement with the Board of Trade that Department publishes monthly in the Board of Trade Journal the latest commercial information from the colonies, which Colonial Governments have been specially invited to furnish. These documents 1156 are distributed to the colonies, and are also on sale to the public. It appears from the Statistical Abstract that in 1889 the total value of imports (including bullion and specie) into India and the colonies from the United Kingdom, as far as could be ascertained, was £122,092,063, and the total value of exports from India and the colonies into the United Kingdom was £86,934,323. The volume of trade as between the colonies and dependencies could not be stated without lengthened research. As regards Indian trade, the special Statement presented to Parliament every five years gives the required information. The Statement for 1889–90 will shortly be in the hands of hon. Members.