HC Deb 14 February 1895 vol 30 cc711-2
COLONEL H. VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, if Her Majesty's Government has recently assented to an increase in the duty levied upon British goods entering Turkey and Japan; and, in such case, what representations were made to their Imperial Majesties the Sultan and Mikado in favour of British exports receiving equal treatment to that accorded in the United Kingdom to Turkish and Japanese exports?


No new Treaty has been concluded with Turkey, and the duties remain as they were. The Tariff annexed to the Treaty recently concluded with Japan, provides for a higher rate of duty on certain British goods entering Japan. Under Clause I of the Protocol attached to the Treaty, the new Tariff might, in certain circumstances, have come into operation a month after the Ratifications of the Treaty had been exchanged. It is, however, subject to the provisions of Article 23 of the Treaty of 1858, by which it is expressly stipulated that Her Majesty's Government and British subjects will be allowed free and equal participation— in all privileges, immunities and advantages that may have been or may be hereafter granted by His Majesty the Tycoon of Japan to the Government or subjects of any other nation; and the Provisions of the new Tariff are therefore necessarily suspended until the revision of the Treaties between Japan and other Powers has been effected. British commerce with Japan is also fully protected by Articles 5 and 15 of the New Treaty against the imposition of any duties heavier than those levied on the commerce of any other State. The New Treaty with Japan was negotiated upon the same principles as are observed in dealing with other civilised Powers, and the Tariff of Duties arranged under it will not compare unfavourably with those of most European nations. No useful purpose would have been served by arguing with the Japanese Govern- ment in favour of the principles of Free Trade.