§ MR. C. HOBHOUSE (Wilts, Devizes)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the Consular Report, 1,495, Argentine Republic, in which is stated the deplorable reduction in British import trade into that country and the acquisition by foreign nations of an undue proportion of what was once British trade, and in which it is further stated that this reduction is largely due to the lack of commercial travellers in British interests, and to the fact of the catalogues of manufacturers being printed in English instead of Spanish; and whether he will endeavour to draw the attention of all Chambers of Commerce in the United Kingdom to these facts?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. J. BRYCE,) Aberdeen, S.
The Board of Trade have referred to the passages in the Consular Report from Buenos Ayres containing the statements in question, and they have also looked into the statistical trade volumes of the Argentine Republic and the other countries concerned. There appears to be some misapprehension in the Report is to the amount of the falling off in the imports from the United Kingdom into the Argentine Republic, and the increase of the imports from Belgium and other countries, the figures in the Report not being borne out by the statistics of some of the countries from which the imports come, including the United Kingdom, In any case, it is not safe to found 1145 sweeping inferences as to great, changes in trade on the figures of two years only, and it already appears from the Import Returns of the Argentine Republic for 1894 that the imports from the United Kingdom in that, year increased compared with 1893, while those from Belgium, Germany, France, and Italy diminished, the only one of the countries named which showed an increase in 1894 as well as the United Kingdom being the United States. I think it probable that there is such a lack of commercial travellers acting in British interests as my hon. Friend refers to. I believe that the matter is already engaging the attention of the Associated Chambers of Commerce.