HC Deb 17 March 1891 vol 351 c1288
(11.14.) MR. HOWARD VINCENT Sheffield, Central)

I am sensible that this is a matter of some delicacy to invite a Parliamentary discussion upon, namely, the Treaties of Commerce with foreign Powers; but I shall be very careful to say nothing offensive to any foreign nation, and, therefore, this objection will not apply to my remarks. The notice which stands in my name is as follows:— To call attention to the provision in the Treaty of Commerce concluded with Belgium in 1862, and with the Zollverein in 1865, in restraint of preferential importation by British Colonies of goods of British origin; and to move, That, in the opinion of this House, Foreign engagements which hinder the full development of trade within the Empire should he terminated as soon as practicable. I must point out that in 1888 I moved for and obtained a Return of the Treaties of Commerce in affairs between the United Kingdom and foreign nations, which precluded preferential fiscal treatment of British goods in the Colonies and Dependencies of the British Crown. This Return showed that two such Treaties were in force. A Memorandum was issued at the time which showed that there were the following Treaties between this country and foreign Powers which expressly precluded preferential fiscal treatment. There was a Treaty of Commerce concluded with Belgium in 1862, which contains a stipulation that articles of produce and manufactures of Belgium shall not be subject in the British Colonies to other or higher duties than those imposed upon similar goods of British origin. This Treaty was terminable by 12 months' notice on either side. There was also the Treaty with the Zollverein of a similar nature, and containing similar provisions that articles manufactured there shall not be subject in the British Colonies and foreign possessions of Her Majesty to any higher or different duty than—

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being present,

House adjourned at twenty minutes after Eleven o'clock till To-morrow.