§ COLONEL HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if Her Majesty's Government are taking any steps to counteract the loss to British trade, as much at Home as in the Colony of Trinidad, caused by the 30 per cent. Import Duty levied by Venezuela upon British goods from the West Indian Antilles, and the consequent gain to Germany whose exports are exempt from such surtax; and if he is aware that President Crespo has had absolutely in draft a Bill to abolish a custom differ- 1260 entiation as prejudicial to the Republic as to Great Britain, but has been prevented by German commercial influence at Caracas from bringing it before Congress?
§ * THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir E. GREY, Northumberland, Berwick)
An additional 30 per cent. on imports from the West Indies was imposed by Venezuela in 1881. In 1892 a Decree was issued abolishing the extra duties, but we have not heard that this Decree was ever confirmed by the Legislature, nor of any action on the part of Germany at Caracas with regard to it. Negotiations cannot be entered into till diplomatic relations are resumed.
§ COLONEL HOWARD VINCENT
Will the hon. Baronet take the opportunity to point out the effect of these extra duties on British goods?
§ SIR E. GREY
The Venezuelan Government are fully aware of our views, but of course we can take no action until diplomatic relations have been resumed.