Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Liquor Imports to Belgium.

Mr. Byrne

asked the Minister for External Affairs whether he is aware that proposals have been drafted for submission to the Belgian Parliament upon its re-assembly next month to alter the Belgian liquor laws, giving preferential treatment to the import of French wines, while virtually prohibiting the sale of the products of Messrs. Guinness and Co. in Belgium; and whether in view of the fact that Belgian imports are five times greater in value than Saorstát exports to Belgium, what action, if any, he proposes to take to secure equality of treatment for Irish exports to Belgium with those of France.

Mr. Hogan (for the Minister for External Affairs)

My inquiries do not confirm the statement in the Deputy's question, but if he will be good enough to furnish me with the information at his disposal I will have further inquiries made. Discussions are at present taking place between the Saorstát Government and the Belgian Government with a view to securing that goods manufactured in the Saorstát on importation into Belgium will not be subjected to higher or other duties than those that shall be applied to similar goods imported into Belgium from any other most-favoured-nation country.

Mr. Byrne

Am I to understand that no such measures are contemplated by the Belgian Government?

Mr. Hogan

The reply states that we have no information on the subject, but if the Deputy has any special information he might give it to the Department.

Mr. Byrne

Am I to take it that no such state of affairs exists?

Mr. Hogan

We do not know everything. We have not information that such a state of affairs exists and I gather that the Department have no information on the point.