HC Deb 23 February 1914 vol 58 cc1428-9W

asked the Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether he is now able to give any information respecting the tonnage tax levied upon British and other merchandise imported into Havana and other ports of entry in the Island of Cuba; whether he has received representations from the West India merchants and others interested in furthering commercial intercourse between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Cuba asking for some alleviation from the duty in question; whether any communications have passed between His Majesty's Minister at Havana and the Cuban Secretary of State upon this question during the past eight months; and whether, in view of the importance of fostering trade and commerce between British and Cuban ports and encouraging the maritime relations between the two countries, His Majesty's Government will lay upon the Table the correspondence which has passed between Havana and London upon this subject?


His Majesty's Government have not recently received any representations from merchants or others in regard to the Cuban Ports Law of February, 1911, but they have not lost sight of the question since my reply to the hon. Member on 23rd June last. A few months ago His Majesty's Minister at Havana renewed the protest of His Majesty's Government against the clause in the law granting special privileges to the United States in the matter of the tonnage, tax, and several other foreign Governments, including France, Germany, and Spain, took similar action. The Cuban Government have replied that they are still awaiting the decision of the Courts on the question of the legality of the decree suspending the operation of the law so far as it regards the payment of the tonnage tax. I do not think any useful purpose would be served by laying Papers on the subject.