HC Deb 22 March 1923 vol 161 cc2788-9W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that a British firm sold on the 22nd December, 1922, to a Dutch firm, the Utrecht Trading Company, The Hague, 200 tons of crude whale oil, cash against delivery of the goods at their works at Hanau, in unoccupied Germany; that or arrival at Mainz, two consignments were seized by the Franco-Belgian authorities, who claimed a 10 percent. ad valorem duty, and are still held by them; that the British exporter received on the 16th instant a cable from their Cologne agent, stating that the French Custom authorities would sell by auction unless 10 percent. is paid immediately; that the British authorities in the occupied areas have been appealed to, and are unable to secure the release of these goods; and what action, if any, has already been taken, or is proposed to be taken, to safeguard the rights of British exporters?


I cannot trace the case referred to, as the firm do not appear to have brought it to the notice of either the Board of Trade or the Foreign Office. If the right hon. and learned Member will give me the names of the consignor and consignee, I will have the question taken up at once. As regards the last part of the question, the substitution of a 10 percent. duty for the former German tariff was taken up by His Majesty's Government, and the French Government agreed that pending the reimposition of specific tariff rates, goods on the German free list should be admitted free of duty. The Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission has now decided to adopt for imports into the occupied territories, us from the 25th March, the duties of the German import tariff as it existed in April, 1922, and I issued last night a notice to the Press to this effect.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, if he is aware that the despatch of goods under the recent arrangement between the British and Franco-Belgian authorities is still being delayed on account of the German Government's instructions that works forwarding goods, except under German licences, will be severely punished; and if he will make representations to the German Government that it should co-operate with the British commission in Coblentz with the hope of allowing works to forward goods in accordance with the recent B.O.T. announcement F 853?


Yes Sir, negotiations with the German Government are in progress.