§ Sir G. Broadbridge
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has been drawn to the serious effect on tobacco-growers in India of a recent decision of the Board of Customs and Excise under which tobacco imported as of 10 per cent. or more moisture but found on departmental test to be of less than 10 per cent. moisture will have to be returned to India to take up additional moisture as the only economic way of dealing with the tobacco; and, as this procedure will involve shipping freight to India and back and other costs and delay, will he direct the Board of Customs and Excise to revert to their original practice of permitting the bales to be opened in warehouse in this country and so to take up moisture which would enable the tobacco to be marketed here at a minimum of extra cost to the Indian growers?
§ Captain Wallace:
I am informed that certain bales of tobacco recently imported from India which were entered as containing 10 per cent. or more of moisture have been found on test to contain less than 10 per cent. of moisture and to have been subject accordingly to a higher rate of duty than that at which they were entered. Under Section 67 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876, these bales are liable to forfeiture, but the Board of Customs and Excise have offered to waive forfeiture on condition either that the tobacco is re-exported or that duty is paid on it at the rate for tobacco containing less than 10 per cent. of moisture. I do not think that in the circumstances there is any case for making the further concession suggested.