HC Deb 04 March 1898 vol 54 cc619-20
MR. C. BILL (Staffs, Leek)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, under the Anglo-French Agreement of January, 1895, all goods crossing the frontier from the French Soudan into the Protectorate of Sierra Leone are charged an ad valoremduty of seven per cent.; whether he is aware that at Herimakono, the French Frontier station near Falaba, the value of these goods is habitually over-estimated by the French officials, without any possibility of redress, and that traders are intimidated from proceeding to Falaba and Freetown in order to induce them to have recourse to the French port of Konakry; and that consequently there has been a large progressive decline in the number of traders passing into the Protectorate in the last three years; and whether Her Majesty's Government will cause representations to be made to the French Government, in order that the grievances to which these traders are subjected may be redressed?


The Agreement of 1895 permits either Government to levy duties, not exceeding seven per cent. ad valorem,on exports crossing the land frontier, and I understand that an export duty of that amount is imposed upon certain goods by the French authorities. Complaints have reached the Governor of Sierra Leone as to the manner in which the duty is collected, but although I have given directions for the careful examination of such complaints, I have not received any definite evidence of unfair treatment, or of intimidation, and I do not think that the complaints referred to are substantial enough, without further information, to support a representation to the French Government.