CAPE COLONY: MINUTE OF THE COMMITTEE FOR TRADE, 14 April 18171
Read. Memorial of the merchants of London trading to the Cape of Good Hope, praying that the duties on wines the produce of that settlement should not be increased etc.2
Read. Copies of two memorials of the manufacturers of British wines presented to the Lords of His Majesty's Treasury, relative to the duties on Cape wines.
Read. Statement on behalf of the manufacturers of and dealers in sweets on British made wines. . . .
[In 1813 the duties on Cape wines had been lowered to about one-third. The resulting increase in the Cape wine trade had given rise to protests, not only from the port and madeira wine merchants, but also from the manufacturers of sweetmeats, who claimed that such competition was injuring their own products. The Treasury had proposed an increase in the import duty on Cape wines which, after further consideration, was resisted by the Committee for Trade.]
Under these circumstances therefore although their Lordships are still of opinion that the makers of sweets are entitled to a favourable consideration of their case the time does not yet appear to have arrived when relief can advantageously be given them by increasing the duty on Cape wine. But it appears to their Lordships that the same object might be attained by a reduction of half the direct duty now payable upon the tun of sweets.
The Lords of the Committee are not aware of any objection to this proposition except the possible loss to the revenue; but when it is considered that the total amount of revenue derived from the duties on sweets in the last year did not amount to £12,000; and that the consumption of the article would probably be increased if the duty were diminished, their Lordships do not apprehend that the revenue would suffer by such an arrangement; and they are further strongly of opinion that if the trade of the Cape of Good Hope should continue to increase as it appears to have done during the last three years, any temporary loss of revenue which might follow from a diminution of the duty upon sweets would be more than compensated by the increasing revenues of the Cape of Good Hope which might either be remitted to the Exchequer of this country, or might be applied to the payment of some of the expenses of that colony which now fall upon the mother country.
Transmit copy of this minute to the Lords of the Treasury.____________________