§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with regard to the fact that the import duty on cured herrings exported from this country to Russia is 7s. a barrel and to the United States 4s. 2d. a barrel, while on cured mackerel it is 28s. a barrel in Russia and 6s. 3d. in the United States, will the Government, as the mackerel industry is a very important one for the poorer parts of Ireland, make representations in those countries with a view to the herring and mackerel duties being equalized?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir EDWARD GREY, Northumberland, Berwick)
Her Majesty's Government would be very glad, whenever a favourable opportunity presented itself, to do anything that was possible to obtain better terms for the mackerel industry. But the respective duties in the United States and in Russia have been fixed to suit what are thought to be the interests of the trade or of the people of those countries. The Governments of the United States and of Russia naturally claim to be not only the best, but the only, judges of what those interests are, 565 and in the absence of any Treaty rights affecting these particular duties, Her Majesty's Government have no ground on which to base a representation, nor would any such representation tend to secure the lowering of the duties in question.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
May I ask whether there is no precedent for making representations to a foreign Government with reference to the taxation on English-made goods?
§ SIR E. GREY
I cannot say that there is no precedent, but I am sure I that, in the absence of any treaty rights, there would be no hope of any good result from making these representations, though, if they thought otherwise, the Government would be very glad to make them.