asked the President of the Board of Trade why British shipping lines do not enjoy reciprocal rights in respect of the carriage of passengers between Belgium and the United Kingdom; and what steps he is taking to establish reciprocity.
The Convention and Statute on the International Regime of Maritime Ports of 1923, of which both Belgium and the United Kingdom are signatories, guarantees equality of treatment between ships of all contracting states for purposes of international trade. The second part of the Question does not, therefore, arise.
Will the hon. Gentleman, therefore, tell the House why it is that no British ships sail between Ostend and British ports carrying pasengers?
The fact that the Belgians rave a monopoly of the passenger service is a matter of history, and not of legal right. We have a similar monopoly of the rail-ferry service.