Изображения страниц

obliged to import three-quarters of the flour consumed. In the meantime it is an error to suppose that this immense deficit has prevented the English millers from feeling the effect of the increase of importations of American flour. We have only to read the English papers in order to be posted on this point. This has resulted in an embarrassment the most annoying in the markets of the country. It is not to be doubted that on the return of the usual harvest of England the American flour will find a market much more difficult; consequently the Americans will have to find a new channel. It is in the market the most important next to England-that is to say, in the French market-that the increase of production will be necessarily directed. To dissipate all doubts in this regard, it is simply necessary to draw attention to what has already been experienced with the American wheat. For some time it has been directed toward the English market; at a later period, on account of the progression of the harvests, it has appeared on our coast, and to-day it invades the whole country.

The experience of the past should not be forgotten by us; what has happened with the wheat is likely to occur with the flour. The continuation of increase in the importation of American flour is also the more certain that they have reduced the rates of transportation 25 per cent, and send us the wheat in the shape of flour instead of in the form of grain; 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of wheat is reduced to 75 kilograms (165 pounds) of flour. The exportation of flour would consequently gradually take the place of the wheat. The situation in which such a state of affairs places our milling industry comes from what exists. To-day the millers of the United States, as practical people, establish their mills in the heart of the States that produce the wheat, such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Dakota, Iowa, &c. Following the wheat and the flour from its departure from America until its arrival in France, the expenses of transportation from Minneapolis, Minn., the center of the grain-producing and milling interest, the most important, which we may take as an example, are, by employing the most economical route, that of the lakes and canals, 10 centimes (2 cents) the 100 kilograms for wheat and flour. The duties in France, according to the projected tariff of the custom-house, are 60 centimes (12 cents) on 100 kilograms of wheat and 1 franc 20 centimes (23 cents) on 100 kilograms of flour. Taking for a basis that to get 100 kilograms of flour we must have 130 kilograms (286 pounds) of wheat, it follows that 100 kilograms of flour made in France from American wheat, having to support the costs of transportation, amounts to 13 francs ($2.50), and on paying the custom-house duty of 78 centimes (15 cents), amounts in all to 13 francs 78 centimes ($2.65), while the same amount of flour made in America and brought to France pays only 10 francs ($1.93) for transportation and 1 franc 20 centimes (23 cents) customs duty, making a total of 11 francs 20 centimes ($2.16). The difference in favor of the American miller on 100 kilograms is 2 francs 58 centimes (50 cents), which represents for him a premium of 6 per cent. With such advantages the importation of American flour should increase rapidly; it is what has already occurred, and what has happened simply confirms the former premonitions. The amount of importations for the last three years which we have given above proves this statement. The American flour has supplanted our products in all the markets, and there only remains to us the national market, the only one which we have a right to defend. The French miller accepts the principles of free trade; it is in effect a most wholesome stimulant, but it is not, we think, making free trade to admit foreign manufactured products on better terms than the raw materials. It is for this reason that we have the honor to ask you not to allow the entrance of flour save on the same equality as wheat. The interest of the consumer, which we should have constantly in view in all matters touching the raising of the tariff, will not be brought into question here; it is insured by the duty on wheat of 60 centimes (12 cents) on the 100 kilograms, which is a simple duty of balance, and on which the miller on his part can have nothing to object to. If we would only remember that the French miller manufactures every year 2,500,000,000 francs' worth of flour, and that it is the only market for 100,000,000 hectoliters (275,100,000 bushels) of wheat, which represents the average amount of our harvest, we shall have an idea of the importance of the national interest that is threatened.



Tobacco, in leaves or stems, is prohibited entry into France when imported for the account of private parties. This prohibition extends even to the dust and débris of the leaves. Manufactures of tobacco may be imported for the account of private parties under special author

[blocks in formation]

The tariff

ization of the administration. This authorization, however, is limited to ten kilograms (22 pounds) per annum to any one person. upon importations of this character is as follows:

Cigars and cigarettes, 36 francs per kilogram, net (equal to $3.15 per pound).

Snuff and chewing tobacco, 15 francs per kilogram, net (equal to $1.31 per pound).

Turkish smoking tobacco, 25 francs per kilogram, net (equal to $2.19 per pound).

All other smoking tobacco, 15 francs per kilogram, net (equal to $1.31 per pound).

These duties were promulgated in the law of June 13, 1880.

The following table gives a comparative view of the import duties on tobacco of the principal European nations:

Import duties on tobacco levied by the principal European nations, in France, per kilogram.



Leaf tobacco....






[blocks in formation]




Chewing tobacco..


[blocks in formation]

Smoking tobacco..

15.00 to 25. 00


Other manufactures of.

[blocks in formation]


Francs. Francs. Francs. Franes. Franes. Franes. Francs.

[blocks in formation]

Apropos of our protective tariff, the opposition here to it is outspoken and almost bitter. "Enormément épouvantable," "Le vieux de la montagne," are some of the terms used in denouncing it. Yet I find it makes all the difference, as it did in the fable, who owns the ox and who the bull, for pending the discussion of the new French tariff, which reduced the duties on imported sardines from 31.20 francs to 10 francs per huudred kilograms, I find a protest made by the syndicate of manufacturers at Nantes, sent to the Senate through the chamber of commerce. As it seems a complete answer to their claims against our system of pro






[blocks in formation]

tection, I give a quotation. They first give the tariff of other countries: United States: Sardines, 60 francs to 95 francs per 100 kilograms; vegetables, 53 francs per 100 kilograms. Germany: Sardines, 95 francs per 100 kilograms. Russia: Sardines, 73.25 francs per 100 kilograms. Then follows their argument:

A comparison of these figures is sufficient to demonstrate that the interests of the French producer will be absolutely sacrificial. The well-known superiority of our merchandise has, during several years, counterbalanced the effects of these tariffs, but little by little the consumer is seduced by the cheaper markets and has forsaken our products which we will be obliged to part with under cost.



The question presented for us, then, is one of life or death. It belongs to you to decide. That we may continue to live, we ask the maintenance of the old tariff and the rejection of the rates proposed by the Government and accepted by the Chamber of Deputies. In conclusion, we have the right to demand that the French markets shall be reserved to us by a protective tariff equivalent to that which the foreign nations inflict upon our goods, or else that the foreign market shall be opened to us by a reduction of their tariffs, as ours are open to all foreign products.

[ocr errors]

The argument was of no avail and the reduction was made in the new tariff.

This argument, thus made in favor of a protective tariff in the case of an article of merchandise of which this country is the principal producer-where in 1879 the exportations stood 32,000,000 francs as against 771,000 importations, and in 1880, 30,000,000 as against 820,000, where the tariff at its high rates produced during the two years only an aggregate of less than 4,000 francs, shows a watchfulness and regard for selfinterest on the part of French manufacturers which would do no discredit to their own estimate of the most ardent and persistent protectionists in the United States.


Nantes, September 30, 1882.





I have the honor to transmit the inclosed "communiqué," of the "Republican of the Loire and the Haute Loire," containing a memorial of the Chamber of Commerce of St. Etienne, addressed to the French secretaries of agriculture, of commerce, and of foreign affairs, regard ing a treaty of commerce with the United States, which may be of interest to the Department.

As to the statistical figures given in this "official" document, I beg to remark that the same appear to be rather inaccurate. It is true that in 1878 the value of the St. Etienne ribbon exportations had gone down to the sum of 1,359,146.30 francs, but in the following year the exportation of these articles amounted to 2,662,594.23 francs, and for the first five months of the present year the records of this office show an exportation the value of which amounts to 1,684,098.20 francs. THEODORE HERTZBERG, Commercial Agent.

ST. ETIENNE, June 3, 180.8



The chamber of commerce of St. Etienne has already had the honor to call your attention to the fact that a treaty of commerce with the United States would prove to be highly important and conducive to the interests of our home industry, the ribbon manufacture of St. Etienne.

It is more than eight years since a tariff of customs-amounting to almost prohibition-has closed up the American market against most of the products of European industries. This fact has become one of the chief causes for the sad stagnation of trade existing in the commercial circles of this continent.

As to the specialty of the St. Etienne ribbon-manufacturing branch, the value of its exportations to the United States reached in 1873 the figure of about 30,000,000 francs, embracing nearly the third part of its entire production. From that time this figure has been from year to year constantly decreasing until it has finally come down to a single million, thereby showing an exportation next to none. Now it seems to us that our own country does import a volume of American products sufficiently large to justify on our part an earnest effort of making that country-a country of a so pre-eminently consuming capacity—take in reciprocity a corresponding part of our industrial production.

Thanks to the labors of our Franco-American commission, the United States themselves have taken the first steps in this matter, which in our judgment should be considered as paramount to all others. In April, 1879, the American House of Representatives and Senate voted a resolution by which the President was requested to take into consideration the expediency of entering into negotiations with the French Government for the purpose of studying and preparing a treaty of commerce between the two countries.

We are not aware of the motives that may have prevented the French Government from taking advantage of these approaches so emphatically friendly.

New efforts in the same direction have since been made by the French-American commission, that body submitting to both branches of the American Congress a new joint proposition praying for the nomination of three commissioners. This resolution, left on the 5th of February, 1880, to the consideration of the Committee on Foreign Relations, has been, on the 24th of February, indefinitely postponed. As we learn from an official communication of the committee, a discussion of the matter will be taken up as soon as the "French Government may have made known its intentions to Mr. Evarts, the Secretary of State, who will immediately send the information to the Senate."

To sum up: It appears to us that the initiatory steps taken privately in the matter by the Franco-American commission have obtained all that reasonably could be expected. Moreover, it is an undeniable fact that the Government of the United States will leave the question untouched until the French Government shall have taken the same into its hands; and in the opinion of this chamber our Government cannot forbear any longer from taking due official notice of this important matter without seriously endangering the interests of this country.

The objection which might perchance be raised, "that previously to any steps on the side of our Government the new general tariff of customs ought to be voted," should not retard action. There is in reality not the least obstacle in the way of the French Government to prevent the same from accepting without even a day's delay the proposition offered in the joint resolution of the Senate at Washington, inviting France to nominate an "official" Franco-American commission. The nomination of such a body does not enjoin any responsibility whatever; it simply would express the desire of having the condition of things duly considered and fairly examined into by competent judges.

Convinced, as we are, Mr. Secretary, that you will without delay take into your hands our cause, or rather the cause of French commerce, we beg to give you the assurance of our highest respect.



I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Department's circular of the 15th ultimo, requesting information relative to export duties levied in France on the productions of foreign countries.

In reply I beg to inform the Department that the new French Government has in reality no export tariff.

Table B, of the new French tariff, promulgated May 8, 1881, reads as follows:

[blocks in formation]

Thus showing two articles of export "prohibited," and all other merchandise "free."

[blocks in formation]

The general import tariffs of Switzerland are light, and maintained wholly with a view to the federal revenues. The rates levied upon the articles which most directly concern American exporters are as follows, the unit of quantity being the meter centner, or 100 kilograms, equal to 220 pounds.

[blocks in formation]

Iron and steel implements, polished, painted, or varnished.

[blocks in formation]

6 00

1 00


2. 00







3 20







3 20




3. 20

3. 20

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »