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Importation tariff of the Republic of l'enezuela, Bc.--Continued.
Manufactured, except children's toys..
Red Bordeaux, in any receptacle
Spanish, all classes, in any receptacle..
Manufactured, n. o.s.
ARTICLES OF FREE IMPORTATION UPON WHICIL THERE IS NO DUTY.
Animals, live, except leeches.
ciled in Venezuela who have resideil more than two years in Europe or the United
cle 166 of the treasury code. Bridges with their chains, roadways, and other attachments when they are for pube
lic use or agricultural enterprises.
papers, and periodicals, and copy-books for primary schools.
their return to the republic.
matchetos, bill-hooks, pruning-knives, &c.
and seeds for planting.
and trades, n. 0. s.
Venezuela enjoy the same plivilege in Colombia.
ing no gum or glue.
paper in pieces of not more than 50 centimeters in length, and of other objects whose dimensions and condition preclude them from being offered for sale. Wood prepared for vaval construction, and howed pieces of pine, oak, &.c., suitable
for sawing into boards or other shapes.
Note.-The receptacles in which free articles are introduced, such as trunks, boxes, bags, &c., will be weighed separately and charged duty according to class.
NOTE. --Samples of stuffs, wall papers, &c., exceeding 25 kilograms in weight, will bo charged upon said excess as belonging to the eighth class.
ARTICLES WHOSE IMPORTATION IS PROHIBITED.
1865, according to executive decree of July 9, 1880.
NOTE. - In order to import fire-arms, gnn-powder, lead, cartridges, goin-caps, flints, or saltpetor, permission from the general Government must be obtained.
VENEZUELAN TARIFF CHANGES
REPORT BY COMMERCIAL AGENT SILER, OF LAGUAYRA.
I have the honor to inform the Department of State that an act has been recently passed by both houses of the Venezuelan Congress, and received the approval of the Executive, which, when put into operation, will sensibly affect the tariff laws of this country. I have been unable to procure a copy of the text of this law, but hope to be able to do so at an early day, when I shall advise the Department of its leading features; however, I am enabled to say at this time that a considerable import duty has been placed on several articles wbich have heretofore been admitted on the free list. Among these may be mentioned corn, rice, beans, and several other food products. There are other articles in which considerable trade has been carried ou here, which are peremptorily prohibited from importation by this new act. In this list are mentioned cocoa, sugar, certain grades of tobacco, wooden toys, &c.
The time fixed for this new tariff law to go into effect was July 1, but it appears that among the other extraordinary prerogatives invested in the Executive of this republic is one that by a simple proclamation may cause any law to go into immediate operation, notwithstanding a different period may have been fixed by Congress.
As might be expected, business is timid and unsteady here just now in consequence of this event; and this, joined to the scarcity of money in circulation, want of confidence in the Government, and general feeling of uncertainty which prevails throughout the republic, would seem unfavorable auguries of its immediate prosperity.
JAMES W. SILER. UNITED STATES CONSULATE,
TARIFF REDUCTION IN VENEZUELA.
REPORT BY CONSUL PLUMACHER, OF MARACAIBO.
I have the honor to inclose a copy and translation of the executive decree of January 26 last, removing the extra import duty of 30 per cent. upon goods introduced into Venezuela by way of the Antilles. This measure, in my opinion, shows considerably better judgment than was displayed in the establishment of this extra imposition, and the interests of the country at large will be thereby benefited. It will also affect most favorably the American “Red D” line of steamers, the only vessels of any importance carrying our flag in these waters.' It must be noted, however, that the animus against Curacao and Trinidad still exists, as direct importations from those points continue to be weighted with the additional 30 per ceut.
E. H. PLUMACHER,
Consul. UNITED STATES CONSULATE,
Maracaibo, February 13, 1883.
The President of the United States of Venezuela, in use of the faculty conceded to bim by article 2, law vi of the treasury code regulating the fiscal laws, and with the affirmative vote of the federal council, decreos :
ARTICLE 1. The products, goods, and merchandise exported from Europe and the United States to Venezuela, and accompanied with all the documents required by the customs laws, may be transshipped in foreign colonies from one vessel to another to proceed to their destination, and will be considered as arriving directly from the original points of export.
ART. 2. When, by lack of immediate transport, it may become necessary to disembark the said products, goods, and merchandise in foreign colonies, they may be reembarked for Venezuela without being considered as colonial exports, always provided that, in addition to the consular documents from the port of original dispatch, the owners or consignees present at the custom-house of the republic where the goods are landed, a certificate from the Venezuelan consul in the colony asserting that the said goods were only there on deposit for lack of vessels to take them to their destination."
ART. 3. The provisions of the foregoing articles will take effect from the 15th of February next in all the custom-houses of the republic.
ART. 4. The minister of finance is encharged with the execution of this decree. Signed, sealed, and legalized at the federal palace in Caracas, January 26, 1883, 19th year of the law and the 24th of the federation.
GUZMAN BLANCO. Countersigned: J. P. Rojas PAUL,
Minister of Finance.
There are also many points of the tariff which must be well understood to avoid exorbitant duties. For example, articles composed of two different substances frequently pay on the whole the duty assessed on wares of the material paying highest duty. Take, for example, lamps for burning kerosene baving a gilded brass collar and fittings. If imported with the brass work attached they pay duty by weight as gilded brassware, the glass being weighed as brass, and paying a higher duty than glass only.
CUSTOMS-REVENUE SYSTEM OF BRAZIL.
REPORT BY CONSUL PRINDLE, OF PARA.
A pamphlet containing addresses of some New York merchants, before the Committee of Ways and Means, advocating certain changes in our customs-revenue system, having been sent to this office, I very respectfully beg to say that it appears to me the custom-house appraisers, named in one of the addresses, in giving their opinions that consular verifications of invoice are utterly worthless, have overlooked the fact that there is a shipper's declaratiou attached to the invoice and verifi. cation, and therefore, if, on examination of the goods at the port of entry, it shall appear that there is undervaluation, or that the invoice is incorrect in any other particular, whereby it is evident that there is design to defraud the revenue, the shipper has placed himself, over his signature, in a position from which he cannot extricate himself without paying the penalty. And, in a consular experience of nearly fourteen years, I feel satisfied that an appreciation of this fact operates decidedly to check attempt on the revenue. It is hardly possible that a consul could imform himself positively of the correctness of an invoice, but he, it seems to me, works in conjunction with the appraiser at home. The consul holds the shipper, so to speak, while the appraiser examines the goods.
Perhaps the shipper's declaration might be improved if to it were added a clause to the effect that the party signing it acknowledges himself to be aware of the penalties attaching to an attempt to defrand the Government.
The system advocated by the above-named gentlemen in some respects appears to resemble the Brazilian tariff, home valuation being one of the principal features of the latter also; and it works here somewhat as follows: The first thing a merchant at this place is supposed to do on the arrival of an importation of foreign merchandise is, through bis custom-house broker, to buy an appraiser. This accomplished, the necessary papers, invoice and all, are then made out for the entry of the goods. It is not probable that an appraiser can always be bought, but if one-twentieth part of the stories told among the business men of Para are true the corruption is very great indeed. There is said to exist an established rule, that of the amount of which the Government can be defrauded on an importation the broker has one-third, the appraiser one-third, and the importer has the benefit of the other. In fact, it is the current belief here that all regular importers at this place have a standing and permanent agreement with their brokers that whenever the latter can show that a lot of goods has been passed through at a rate below that which the tariff prescribes, and whereby the Government has been defrauded, his money is earned. And such are the delays and other peculiar features of the system, difficulties attending the withdrawal of merchandise from the custom-house, &c., that I feel quite satisfied such a system could not possibly be endured in our country.
A member of a house here for which I have verified 61 invoices since the 1st of January last told me some days ago, in a conversation on the subject, that bis firm did not consider our system burdensome, and that they had no complaint to make.
It is proposed, also, to make some change in the law on drawback or debenture certificates, and I beg to make a few remarks on that subject also. In countries where vessels are obliged to discharge and load at anchor some distance from the shore, with guard boats near landings on which watch is kept night and day, to which all boats passing to and from the vessels have to report, no doubt, when a customs officer has inspected the lading of goods on which there is allowance of drawback, it is tolerably safe to pay such drawback as soon as the vesseel has sailed. But it would seem to be very different in our country, where vessels discharge and load at the wharfs, and where vessels bound to foreign ports lie side by side with those bound to ports in the United States, and where, therefore, it is comparatively easy to change the destination of goods after being laden.
I think the oaths of the master and mate of the exporting vessel should be exacted, and that consuls should be more particular than they are in that part of their duties which relates to these certificates. At present the manner in which these documents are treated by many consuls undoubtedly tends to bring the law into contempt. For instance, A, in New York, consigns goods, on which drawback is allowed, to certain merchants at Para, B, C, D, E, and, perhaps, eight or ten others, all on one certificate, by the Ocean Wave, which vessel is consigned to F. A sends a certificate along, which is made out to G, as consignee, who has not an item of goods on the certificate, and yet I found when I came here that it was expected, from long usage I believe, more than for any other reason, that I would attest that the signature of G as consignee was true and correct and deserving full faith and credit. Sometimes the certificates were made out to the consignee of the vessels, and often he had no goods on it, and sometimes it was made out to one of the several consignees. It was customary also to send these documents to the consulate already signed by the master and mate, and it was expected that the consul would solemnly attest that these officers had sworn to them before him, even in cases where the goods were landed from foreign vessels whose officers he had never seen.
If I were to attest to the truth of any document of which I knew nothing, or knew to be untrue, merely to suit my convenience, or in order that I might get along smoothly and easily with everybody, I should think I ought to ask myself where this sort of thing might be likely to stop.
Some shippers in the United States who ship merchandise to many different parts of the world, tinding that a cousul at one place will certify freely to such certiticates as I have described, and at another a con