Oral Answers to Questions — Burma (Retroactive Tax Assessments)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th December 1964.

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Photo of Mr William Van Straubenzee Mr William Van Straubenzee , Wokingham 12:00 am, 14th December 1964

asked the Minister of State for Foregin Affairs what representations he made to General Ne Win, Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of the Union of Burma, on his recent visit to London, as to the affect upon shareholders in the United Kingdom of retroactive tax assessments now levied by the Government of Burma on business and firms in that country.

Photo of Mr Walter Padley Mr Walter Padley , Ogmore

None, Sir. Her Majesty's Ambassador at Rangoon has, however, made representations to the Burmese authorities about the severe effect on British commercial interests of the new retroactive Burmese tax rates which were introduced on 1st October last year.

Photo of Mr William Van Straubenzee Mr William Van Straubenzee , Wokingham

Does the Minister remember that on the occasion of the visit to which this Question refers the Secretary of State made a presentation to General Ne Win of what is called the Mandalay Regalia, to which great importance is attached in Burma, and this, presumably, was done to further good relations between the two countries? Would it not have been appropriate to have used the occasion of General Ne Win's visit to make representations on the very savage effects of these tax levies on British companies lawfully trading in that country?

Photo of Mr Walter Padley Mr Walter Padley , Ogmore

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister told the House on 19th November, the Regalia are being returned to Burma in the interests of promoting closer Anglo-Burmese relations. He had in mind various problems affecting British interests upon which the Burmese Government might be more disposed to some concessions. The point is that there are appropriate occasions for doing appropriate things.