§ COLONEL HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that the late Government refused the urgent request of the Premier of Cape Colony and the British South Africa Company to add a clause to the Constitution of Matabeleland and Mashonaland, that the duties upon British goods entering those territories, the extent of which is calculated to exceed eight times the size of the United Kingdom, should never be increased; and, if it is too late to obtain so great and permanent an advantage for British trade and labour in a district abounding in new markets?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
The question of my hon. and gallant Friend does not represent quite accurately the proposal to which it refers. The document in which it was proposed to insert the 166 clause cannot be called a "Constitution," but was one of a series of revocable Orders in Council relating to our protected South African territories. The purport of the clause was not that the duties on British goods entering the territories of the Chartered Company should never be increased, for no such duties are imposed, but that if imposed they should never exceed those levied under the South African Customs Union Tariff. I do not think that any advantage would arise from my reopening the question, as I have no reason to suppose that the Chartered Company contemplates levying Customs Duties, and if they did so propose the Secretary of State has full power to veto any Customs Ordinance which he might consider unreasonable or unfair to British trade.