HC Deb 19 March 1906 vol 154 cc57-8
MR. F. E. SMITH (Liverpool, Walton)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has taken any, and what, steps to ensure British traders having equal rights to those at present enjoyed by Japanese traders, who are admitted freely and without any restriction; whether he is aware, or has received, any complaints that the Japanese authorities are imposing duties upon the import of goods other than those of Japanese manufacture into the port of Dalny, although during the Russian occupation no such duties were imposed; and whether he has taken any, and, if so, what steps to prevent the injury to British commerce occasioned by the action of the Japanese authorities; and whether he has made, or will make, representations to the Government of Japan as to the desirability of the evacuation of Chinese territory by the Japanese troops at a date earlier than the full limit of time fixed by the Portsmouth treaty, having regard to the hindrance occasioned by the occupation to the free exchange of commerce between British traders and Chinese merchants.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Sir Edward Grey): Inquiries have been made, and we are informed that goods, irrespective of nationality, are entering Dalny duty free. The only exception known is a case of 50,000 cigarettes, the property of the British American Tobacco Company, on which duty appears to have been charged. His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokio has been requested by telegraph to inquire why an exception has been made in this case. We cannot ask the Japanese to vary the terms of the treaty with regard to the occupation, but telegraphic instructions were sent on 21st February to His Majesty's Minister at Peking, to cause inquiries to be made on the spot, with a view to seeing that the hindrance to trade was as little as possible, and our hope in this respect has been expressed to the Japanese Government.