HC Deb 21 June 1906 vol 159 c384
MR. BOLAND (Kerry, S.)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the statement on page 5 of the recent Consular Report from Chicago with reference to the system of consular invoices in force in the United States; and whether he will consider the advisability of adopting a similar system by way of experiment in Ireland, in view of the importance of the collection of reliable statistics of imports and exports, with a view to its permanent adoption in the United Kingdom should the system prove satisfactory.


I have seen the statement referred to. In order to carry out the experiment suggested by the hon. Member, it would be necessary that Foreign Consuls in Ireland and British Consuls abroad should be required to issue Consular Invoices for goods exported from or to Ireland. His Majesty's Government have no power to give directions of this kind to Foreign Consuls, and were it otherwise, I have great doubt if the introduction of a universal requirement of this kind would be popular among Irish exporters. As regards British Consuls abroad, I would point out that the principal object of Consular Invoices is not to shew ultimate destination but to ensure that goods are not undervalued for the purpose of assessment of ad valorem import duties. The introduction of the system therefore in respect of goods exported from places abroad to Ireland would not attain the object which the hon. Member has in view.