HC Deb 09 August 1898 vol 64 cc654-5

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if the colonies of Germany, France, and Spain enjoy with the Mother Country a reciprocal preferential tariff; and, if these favoured trade relations between different parts of the same Empire, although separated by the sea, have ever been held by this or any other foreign country to infringe the rights of most-favoured-nation treatment?


As regards German colonies the answer is in the negative; as regards the colonies of France, broadly speaking, and of Spain, in the affirmative. Full information on the subject will be found in reports from Her Majesty's representatives abroad, commercial No. 5, 1895, which were obtained at the instance of my honourable and gallant Friend himself. Information in regard to the bearing of the most favoured-nation clauses in treaties on such preferential arrangements between the Colonies and the Mother Country is also given therein. It has been held that the most-favoured-nation clause does not affect the right of this country to extend to the produce of its Colonies more favourable treatment than it accords to the produce of foreign or third countries. A similar opinion has, for the most part, I believe, also prevailed abroad. It will be recollected that one of the chief objects in view in denouncing the treaties, with Germany and Belgium was the securing of complete autonomy to the Colonies in such matters.

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