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Freights To Australia

Volume 181: debated on Monday 19 August 1907

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I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been drawn to Cd. 3639, the Report upon the conditions and prospects of British trade in Australia, wherein it is stated that something should be done to deal with the problem of freights and to put British and foreign importers to Australia on a more equal footing than is the case at present; whether he is aware that this inequality is to the great detriment of the British importer, and is caused by the shipping ring, who bolster up high freights by a system of rebates; and whether he can give the House an assurance that, failing good effects arising from peaceful persuasion by his Department, he will introduce legislation to break up these shipping rings on similar lines to those adopted by the United States Executive against similar railway and trading combines in America.

The whole question of shipping 'rings' and 'conferences' and the system of deferred rebates is being inquired into by a Royal Commission.