HC Deb 30 July 1914 vol 65 cc1590-1W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Government propose, as a condition of Great Britain being placed by Portugal on the most-favoured-nation terms, to introduce a Bill to prohibit the word port being applied in this country to any wine other than that shipped from Portugal; and, if so, whether those who have for upwards of fifty years manufactured from raisins and sold in this country a wine known as British port will, in the event of the passage of such Bill through Parliament, be prevented from doing so thereafter?


His Majesty's Government have for a long time, in the general interests of British trade and largely at the instance of the Chambers of Commerce, been endeavouring to conclude a Commercial Treaty with Portugal with a view to obviating the disability under which British trade with that country is placed as a consequence of the absence of any arrangement for the accord of mostfavoured-nation treatment. This treatment has so far been withheld, because Portugal has maintained,inter alia, that her trade has been injured by non-Portuguese wines being sold for consumption here under the designation of "Port." She has made it a condition of the conclusion of any Treaty that the word "port" shall only be applied to wine of Portuguese origin. Germany, the United States of America, Italy and Austria-Hungary have already concluded Treaties with Portugal on this basis, and the goods of these countries consequently enjoy a preferential position in the Portuguese market as compared with British goods. I have hopes that the long-standing discrimination against British trade will very shortly be removed by the conclusion of a similar Treaty. It will, of course, be necessary to introduce legislation to give effect to such a Treaty if concluded, but I can hold out no hope that the manufacture of so-called "British port" will be exempted from its provisions, as this would tend to make the whole arrangement nugatory.