HC Deb 07 December 1982 vol 33 c488W
Mr. Sims

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what concessions are extended to embassies and high commissions in London to purchase beers, wines and spirits free of duty; and to what extent their terms encourage the purchase of British rather than imported products.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Relief from duty and tax on goods imported by embassies and high commissions is granted under the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, which has the force of law in the United Kingdom by virtue of the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964. The convention does not, however, provide for relief from indirect taxes on domestic products where these taxes are normally incorporated in the price of the goods—as is the case with value added tax and excise duty—and this restriction is accordingly reflected in United Kingdom law. Nevertheless, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has made arrangements to refund the duty and tax chargeable on United Kingdom manufactured spirits, thereby placing them on the same competitive footing as imported products.