§ COLONEL MILWARD (Warwick, Stratford-on-Avon)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs?, whether the customs duties levied by the Russian Government are the same in all parts of the Russian Empire—e.g., whether the duties levied in Siberia are the same as those levied in Russia in Europe; whether it is yet known if the duties to be levied in Port Arthur and Ta-lien-wan will be based upon the-Chinese or Russian customs tariff; whether by a free port is meant a port where, merchandise is landed without customs duty, as was formerly the case in Hamburg and Lubeck; and whether, in that case, there is a hinterland also free from customs duly, or whether duty is levied upon all merchandise passing from the free port into Chinese or Russian territory behind it?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. G. N. CURZON,) Lancashire, S.W., Southport
With the exception of certain goods; proceeding from China, some of which are prohibited, and others exempt, from import duty, the customs tariff of European Russia appears to be applied in Siberia. The Russian assurances already cited by me in the House are to the effect that the Chinese tariff will remain in force in the ports leased by Russia. A free port, as I have previously explained, is a, port like Hong-kong, where no customs duties are levied, a:-a unable for the moment to answer the last inquiry, because the question of that of the not a risers free port not having arisen behind it has not arisen either.