§ MR. KIMBER
asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether it is the fact that Transvaal produce, including tobacco, is allowed to enter Natal by land free of Duty, although tobacco and other imports entering the Transvaal from Natal are subjected to heavy import Duties, and how this is reconcilable with Article 13 of the Convention with the Transvaal or South African Republic of February 1884, which provides, among other things, that—The same treatment shall be given to any article coming to Great Britain from the South African Republic as to the like article coming from any other place or country,tobacco being an article liable to Duty both in Great Britain and in Natal; whether the influx of Transvaal tobacco under protection into Natal, which is thus unprotected, is causing very serious losses among the tobacco growers and manufacturers of Natal, and causing discontinuance of its cultivation; whether a British officer has been appointed, under Article 3 of that Convention, to reside in the Republic and discharge consular functions; and, whether any and what efforts were made, on the occasion of that Convention taking the place of British suzerainty, to secure reciprocal free trade between the Transvaal and the adjoining Crown Colony of Natal, or have been made since?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY (Mr. OSBORNE MORGAN)
It is the fact that Transvaal produce, including tobacco, is allowed to enter Natal (which has no inland Custom Houses) by land, free of duty, and that tobacco and other imports entering the Transvaal from Natal are subjected to heavy import duties; but I am unable to see what bearing Article 13 of the Convention of London has upon the question, as it is only the usual "Most Favoured Nation" Clause, and merely stipulates that no differential duties shall be imposed by the Transvaal against articles coming "from any part of Her Majesty's Dominions." I have not heard that the influx of Transvaal tobacco is causing losses among tobacco growers and manufacturers in Natal. No suggestion of the kind has been made by the Natal Government. The Government decided, in accordance with the desire of the South African Republic, to appoint a Consular officer at Pretoria, and the salary was placed on the Estimates for 1885–6. Sir Hercules Robinson, however, having repeatedly declared that such an appointment was unnecessary, the Government have decided not to fill it up at present; but the salary for such an officer has again been placed on the Estimates for 1886–7, in case it should be thought desirable to reconsider the matter. No steps have been taken to secure the passage of goods duty free from Natal into the Transvaal, Her Majesty's Government believing that any such attempt would, for reasons which it is impossible for me to state within the limits of an answer to a Question, be inexpedient in the interests of that Colony.