HC Deb 13 June 1904 vol 135 cc1488-9

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if, in view of the fact that the Brussels International Sugar Bounties Permanent Commission at its sittings in October last declared that the Russian system as it exists does not give rise to a bounty; that it declared by a vote of eight in the affirmative, against one in the negative, given by Great Britain, that the contracting States have the right to levy on sugared products a surtax higher than that fixed by Article 3 of the Sugar Convention; and that it further decided that in Canada, Australia, and the South African Customs Union sugar bounties exist and fixed the rates of countervailing duties, for Canada at 3.63 francs per 100 kilogrammes on refined sugar, for the South African Customs Union at 2.05 francs per 100 kilogrammes on raw and and 3.89 francs on refined sugar, and for Australia at 9.94 francs per 100 kilogrammes on raw and 5.62 francs on refined sugar; he will state whether His Majesty's Government accept these as binding decisions; and, if so, what course does it propose to take with regard to Russian sugars, to sugared products, and to bounty-fed sugars coming from Canada, South Africa, and Australia.


1. The Permanent Commission at its sittings in October declared that the Russian system does give rise to a bounty. The word "not" in the report of the proceedings just laid before Parliament is an unfortunate typographical error, but the meaning is apparent from the context. In the case of the Customs duties fixed for Australian sugars, the rate 0.94 francs appears in the hon. Member's Question by a similar typographical error as 9.94. 2. The question of the surtax leviable by contracting States on sugared products is still before the Permanent Commission and the discussion has been adjourned to the next session of the Commission. 3. The Sugar Convention was ratified under the explicit declaration that His Majesty's Government would not consent under any circumstances to be bound to penalise bounty-fed sugar imported into the United Kingdom from any of the self-governing Colonies.


Will the Government take steps to secure English manufacturers against the unfair competition of bounty-fed foreign sugar products.


intimated that between now and the next sitting of the Commission in November the matter would be considered. He had no information that any foreign bounty-fed sugar products were being imported.