Skip to main content

Embassies And High Commissions

Volume 33: debated on Tuesday 7 December 1982

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

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.

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.