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This concept of a "net" bounty—that is, a remission in excess of taxes paid or otherwise due-as the trigger for a countervailing-duty requirement emerged more clearly in the second sugar provision, enacted in 1894. Tariff Act of 1894, | 18272, 28 Stat. 521. The 1894 statute extended the countervailing-duty requirement to all imported sugar, raw as well as refined, and provided for payment of a fixed duty on all sugar coming from a country which “pays, directly or indirectly, a bounty on the export thereof." A proviso to the statute made clear, however, that no duties were to be assessed in the event that the "bounty" did not exceed the amount of taxes already paid. The author of the 1894 provision, Senator Jones, expressly characterized this difference between the amounts received upon exportation and the amounts already paid in taxes as the "net bounty" on exportation. 26 Cong. Rec. 5705 (1894) (discussing German export bounty system).
The 1897 statute greatly expanded upon the coverage of the 1894 provision by making the countervailing-duty requirement applicable to all imported products. Tariff Act of 1897, § 5, 30 Stat. 205, quoted in n. 8, supra. There are strong indications, however, that Congress intended to retain the “net bounty' concept of the 1894 provision as the criterion for determining when a countervailing duty was to be imposed. Although the proviso in the 1894 law was deleted, the 1897 statute did provide for levying of duties equal to the “net amount" of any export bounty or grant. And the legislative
11 The proviso specified that "the importer of sugar produced in a foreign country, the Government of which grants such direct or indirect bounties, may be relieved from this additional duty under such regulations as the Secretary of the Treasury may prescribe, in case said importer produces a certificate of said Government that no indirect bounty has been received upon said sugar in excess of the tax collected upon the beet or cane from which it was produced, and that no direct bounty has been or shall be paid
28 Stat. 521 (emphasis added).
history suggests that this language, in addition to establishing & responsive mechanism for determining the appropriate amount of countervailing duty, was intended to incorporate the prior rule that nonexcessive remission of indirect taxes would not trigger the countervailing-duty requirement at all.
There is no question that the prior rule was carried forward in the version of the 1897 statute that originally passed the House. This version did not extend the countervailing-duty requirement to all imports. Instead, it merely modified the 1894 sugar provision so that the amount of the countervailing duty, rather than being fixed, would be "equal to the export] bounty, or so much thereof as may be in excess of any tax collected by [the foreign] country upon [the] exported [sugar), or upon the beet or cane from which it was pro
See 30 Cong. Rec. 1634 (1897). The House Report unequivocally stated that the countervailing duty was intended to be "equivalent to the net export bounty paid by any country. H. R. Rep. No. 1, 55th Cong., 1st Sess., 4-5 (1897) (emphasis supplied).
The Senate deleted the House provision from the bill and replaced it with the more general provision that was eventually enacted into law. See 30 Cong. Rec. 1733 (1897) (striking House provision); id., at 2226 (adopting general provision); id., at 2705, 2750 (House agreement to Senate amendment). The debates in the Senate indicate, however, that-aside from extending the coverage of the House provision—the Senate did not intend to change its substance. Senator Allison, the sponsor of the Senate amendment, explained that the House provision was being "stricken from the bill,” because "the same paragraph in substance [is] being inserted [in] section , making this countervailing duty apply to all articles instead of to (sugar) alone.” Id., at 1635. See also id., at 1732 (remarks of Sen. White). Senator Allison twice remarked that the countervailing duty that he was proposing was an "imitation" of the one provided in the 1894 statute,
id., at 1719; see id., at 1674, and later in the debates he stated-in response to a question as to whether the countervailing duty would be equal to "the whole amount of the export bounty”—that “[the bounty contemplated) is the net bounty, less the taxes and reductions ...," id., at 1721 (answering question from Sen. Vest).
An additional indication of the Senate's intent can be found in the extended discussion of the effect that the statute would have with respect to German sugar exports. Time after time the amount of the German "bounty”-and, correspondingly, the amount of the countervailing duty that would be imposed under the statute-was stated to be 38€ per 100 pounds of refined sugar, and 274 per 100 pounds of raw sugar. See, e.g., id., at 1650 (remarks of Sens. Allison, Vest, and Caffery), 1658 (Sens. Allison and Jones), 1680 (Sen. Jones), 1719 (Sens. Allison and Lindsay), 1729 (Sen. Caffery), 2823–2824 (Sens. Aldrich and Jones). These figures were supplied by the Treasury Department itself, see id., at 1719 (remarks of Sen. Allison), 1722 (letter from Treasury Department to Sen. Caffery), and were utilized by both proponents and opponents of the measure. And yet it was frequently acknowledged during the debates that Germany exempted sugar exports from its domestic consumption tax of $2.16 per 100 pounds, an amount far in excess of the 38¢ and 27¢ figures. See, e. g., id., at 1646 (remarks of Sen. Vest), 1651 (Sen. Caffery), 1697 (same), 2205 (same). Had the Senators considered the mere remission of an indirect tax to be a "bounty,” it seems unlikely that they would have stated that the German "bounties” were only 384 and 274 per 100 pounds." Especially in
12 The figures of 384 and 27° per 100 pounds apparently represented the amount of direct bounty paid upon exportation. See, e. 9., 30 Cong. Rec. 1722 (1897) (letter from Treasury Department).
Petitioner argues that the Senate must have intended the term "bounty" to include nonexcessive remissions of indirect taxes, since Germany collected a tax on the output of sugar factories that was not remitted upon exporta
light of the strong opposition to countervailing duties even of the magnitude of 38¢ and 27¢, see, e. g., id., at 1719 (remarks of Sen. Lindsay), 2203–2205 (remarks of Sen. Gray), it seems reasonable to infer that Congress did not intend to impose countervailing duties of many times this magnitude.
Regardless of whether this legislative history absolutely compelled the Secretary to interpret "bounty or grant" so as not to encompass any nonexcessive remission of an indirect tax, there can be no doubt that such a construction was reasonable in light of the statutory purpose. Cf. Mourning v. Family Publications Service, Inc., 411 U. S. 356, 374 (1973). This purpose is relatively clear from the face of the statute and is confirmed by the congressional debates: The counter
tion and yet was not subtracted from the figures of 38¢ and 27¢ cited as the “bounties” paid by Germany. The sole evidence cited by petitioner to show that Germany in fact collected such a tax is an exhibit to the testimony of a single witness during hearings conducted by the House in 1896. See Tariff Hearings before the House Committee on Ways and Means, 54th Cong., 2d Sess., 617-618 (1896–1897). We have been unable to find any references to this tax anywhere in the Senate debates; moreover, to the extent that anyone contemplated the existence of German taxes that were not remitted upon exportation, the assumption appears to have been that they would be deducted from the 384 and 27¢ figures in determining the net amount of the bounty to be countervailed. The following exchange between Senators Allison and Vest is illustrative:
“Mr. VEST. What ... is the amount of export bounty, taking out taxes, etc., granted by Germany?
"Mr. ALLISON. ... Of course it can not exceed three-eighths of a cent & pound-thirty-eight one-hundredths on refined sugar-nor can it exceed twenty-seven one-hundredths upon raw sugar. But it may be very much less." 30 Cong. Rec. 1721 (1897). We note in any event that the amount of the tax cited by petitioner was less than 2¢ per 100 pounds, see Tariff Hearings, supra, at 617, whereas the consumption tax-which concededly was remitted upon exportation and yet not added to the figures of 38¢ and 27€was in the vicinity of $2.16 per 100 pounds.
vailing duty was intended to offset the unfair competitive advantage that foreign producers would otherwise enjoy from export subsidies paid by their governments. See, e. 9., 30 Cong. Rec. 1674 (remarks of Sen. Allison), 2205 (Sen. Caffery), 2225 (Sen. Lindsay) (1897). The Treasury Department was well positioned to establish rules of decision that would accurately carry out this purpose, particularly since it had contributed the very figures relied upon by Congress in enacting the statute. See Zuber v. Allen, 396 U. S. 168, 192 (1969).
In deciding in 1898 that a nonexcessive remission of indirect taxes did not result in the type of competitive advantage that Congress intended to counteract, the Department was clearly acting in accordance with the shared assumptions of the day as to the fairness and economic effect of that practice. The theory underlying the Department's position was that a foreign country's remission of indirect taxes did not constitute subsidization of that country's exports. Rather, such remission was viewed as a reasonable measure for avoiding double taxation of exports once by the foreign country and once upon sale in this country. As explained in a recent study prepared by the Department for the Senate Committee on Finance:
"[The Department's construction was) based on the principle that, since exports are not consumed in the country of production, they should not be subject to consumption taxes in that country. The theory has been that the application of countervailing duties to the rebate of consumption (and other indirect] taxes would have the effect of double taxation of the product, since the United States would not only impose its own indirect taxes, such as Federal and state excise taxes and state and local sales taxes, but would also collect, through the use of the countervailing duty, the indirect tax imposed by the