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Portuguese Port Dues (Discrimination)

Volume 236: debated on Monday 10 March 1930

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the reason why embarkation and disembarkation charges are to be made against our goods at the port of Lisbon; and whether His Majesty's representative has reminded the Government of Portugal of the signatures of the Portuguese representatives at Geneva in 1923 and of the undertaking given by Portugal in 1928 to abandon discrimination against our goods and ships?

I am unaware that any changes are contemplated in the existing port dues levied on vessels loading and unloading at Lisbon. These dues are at present greater in the case of foreign than of national vessels, and so involve discrimination against the shipping of all foreign nations Calling at Lisbon. His Majesty's Ambassador at Lisbon has been instructed to make comprehensive representations to the Portuguese Government on the general question of flag discrimination. These representations will cover the question of port dues. The only relevant international Convention signed at Geneva during 1923 is the Convention on Maritime Ports, but this was not signed by Portugal. The Portuguese Government have, however, been reminded more than once of the assurance given in January, 1928, by the then Minister of Foreign Affairs that all measures of flag discrimination would shortly be abolished.

Will the right hon. Gentleman keep a careful eye on this matter, in order that we at any rate may not be prejudiced in our trade with Portugal?

If representations can be made in the case of Portugal, why is it that they cannot be made in the case of Russia?