§ Mr. NEWMAN
asked whether the Secretary for the Colonies' attention had been drawn to the report recently issued by the Controller of Customs to the British South Africa Company, in which he states that, among other imports and manufactured goods during the past year to the company's territories, cotton and rugs, cotton shawls, tools (picks and hoes for Kaffir use) from Germany, bar, bolt, and rod iron from Belgium, implements and agricultural machinery from the United States of America, and electrical machinery from Switzerland, have largely increased, while imports in these articles from the United Kingdom show an actual decrease; and whether, with a view to regaining trade in these articles by means of an increase in the preference already existing, he could see his way to give a preference in the home markets on the tobacco, cotton, and sugar grown, or about to be grown, in the company's territory?
Yes, Sir. The report states that imports of the articles referred to from foreign countries have increased. The report does not say that they have largely increased, nor is it correct that in the case of agricultural or electrical machinery British imports have decreased at all in value. The total value of imports from the United Kingdom for the year 1909 was £1,037,327 against £868,154 for 1908. None of the decreases in the articles referred to in the question amount to as much as £4,000, and that which British trade has suffered in Kaffir picks and hoes amounts to £11; whilst bar bolt and rod-iron shows a decrease of £53. I am not, on the figures or the argument, prepared to adopt the policy he suggests, but I note with interest his proposal—I know not whether supported by the party to which he belongs—that in order to gain a preference to Rhodesia an import duty should be imposed in Great Britain on all raw cotton coming here from foreign countries.