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I am informed that a direct effort is being made by England to negotiate a commercial treaty with Spain, with a view of reducing these heavy duties upon English productions, and while there are exorbitant duties charged upon goods produced in England, the United States suffers equally upon certain classes of goods imported into Spain, notably in petroleum, provisions, and canned goods, as well as on many classes of goods which are produced and manufactured by us, the importation of which is prevented by the excessive duties imposed.
There is also besides customs duties an "octroi" (or consumers') duty, as it is called, which is a tax imposed and collected before the goods can be delivered. This "octroi" duty is enormously high, and of which no mention is made in the published customs tariff of Spain.
I will include in this report the following articles with duties, customs, octroi, &c., imposed upon each, viz:
Petroleum (refined and benzine).-One box of petroleum contains two cans weighing, oil included, 32 kilograms. The invoice price of the box is about 32 reals vellon. The Spanish duties are: customs, at 22 reals vellon per 100 kilograms, are 7.04 reals vellon; transitory, at 15 reals vellon per 100 kilograms, are 4.80 reals vellon; extraordinary (imposed by order July 31, 1880), are 22.08 reals vellon; total customs duty are 33.92 reals vellon, equal to 106 per cent.! To this must be added octroi dues at 28.48 reals vellon, which makes a total of 195 per cent.
Hams and dry salted meat.-The customs duty is, comparatively speaking, not very heavy, say 0.23 reals vellon per kilogram, but the octroi is 1.60 reals vellon per kilogram, or seven times the amount of customs duty.
Salmon, lobster, and soups in tins.-A one pound tin weighs 0.550 kilogram; price 36.25 reals vellon per dozen. The customs duty on the dozen, at 4 reals vellon per kilogram, is 26.40 reals vellon, or 70 per cent. Add to this the octroi, 8.32 reals vellon, and it becomes 953 per cent. on the original cost!
Preserved provisions, pickles, sauces, &c., pay customs duty 4 reals vellon per kilogram; the tins, jars, or bottles in which they are packed are included in the weight and no tare is allowed. On pickles especially this is exorbitant. One bottle of pickles weighs a few grams more than a kilogram, and its cost, at $2 per dozen, is 3.33 reals vellon, and it pays for customs duty 4 reals vellon or 120 per cent. on the cost. There is also an octroi duty to be added to the foregoing of 1.44 reals vellon, or 43 per cent., which makes a total duty of 163 per cent. on the cost of the goods!
Jams, jellies, and preserves pay 4 reals vellon the kilogram, tins or jars included. One pot of jam weighs 0.360 kilogram; the dozen costs about $1.56 or 31.25 reals vellon, and the customs duty amounts to 25.44 reals vellon, being 81 per cent. Add to this 13.20 reals vellon for octroi dues and the article stands charged with 1233 per cent. on the cost price!
Hardware (of iron and steel) and tin plates pays from 0.30 reals vellon to 20 reals vellon the kilogram. Although Spain is a country possessing untold mineral wealth, the high cost of fuel has always been a serious impediment to most of her ores being profitably smelted here. Spain is consequently dependent upon foreign countries, chiefly England, for her supplies of hardware and for agricultural implements and machinery, and I consider that with proper encouragement the United States could supply with advantage to both countries whatever may be required in this branch of trade. The iron works, foundries, &c., now existing are so few and insignificant, that any refusal on the part of this country to lower the duties on foreign metal manufactures on the ground of pro
tection due to native industry would certainly, to say the least, be out of place.
Apart from the various articles produced or extensively manufactured in Spain upon which high protection duties are levied, such as cotton and woolen goods, bar iron, &c., there are an infinity of articles which are taxed in the Spanish customs tariff with exorbitant duty, notwithstanding many of them are neither produced nor manufactured to any important extent in Spain, and upon which a reduction of duty might be made, to the advantage of both the United States and Spain, upon the proper representation of facts.
Copper, brass, or gun metal articles pay 5 reals vellon per kilogram, and if plated or lacquered 10 reals vellon per kilogram.
Coals. The duty on this article was formerly 5 reals vellon per ton of 1,000 kilograms. About three years ago the duty was doubled, and it now pays 10 reals vellon. This increase in duty was made to appease the clamor of the proprietors of the Spanish mines, and the Government also promised that Spanish coals alone should be used on board their ships of war, but the article is so dear and so inferior in quality that a short time ago the Spanish navy recommended burning English coals. The duty amounts to 25 per cent. on the prime cost of the article.
Glassware.-Wine bottles of common green glass pays 0.32 reals vellon per kilogram. One gross costs 80 reals vellon, and weighs 106 kilograms; the duty is therefore 34 reals vellon or about 43 per cent. on the cost; but bottles of common white blown glass are charged with the same duty as the finest cut flint glass, which amounts to 1.80 reals vellon per kilogram.
Sugar pays customs duty per kilogram, 1.29 reals vellon; municipal duty per kilogram, 54 reals vellon; transitory duty per kilogram, 54 reals vellon; total customs duty, 2.37 reals vellon. One cwt. or 50.79 kilograms costs, say, 142.40 reals vellon; one kilogram is worth 2.80 reals vellon, and with 2.37 reals vellon upon this amount for duty, is equal to 84 per cent.
Tea pays custom duty, per kilogram, 6 reals vellon; municipal duty, per kilogram, 3.20 reals vellon; transitory duty, per kilogram, 3.20 reals vellon; total customs duty, per kilogram, 12.40 reals vellon.
On low-priced teas this duty is enormously high.
Coffee pays customs duty, per kilogram, 2 reals vellon; municipal duty, per kilogram, 1.08 reals vellon; transitory duty, per kilogram, 1.08 reals vellon; total customs duty, per kilogram, 4.16 reals vellon. The duties on coffee amount to about 39 per cent. on cost.
Candles of all kinds pay for customs duty 2 reals vellon per kilogram, being about 23 per cent. But they are also charged with an octroi duty of 3.40 reals vellon per kilogram.
One pound paraffine candles costs about 4.20 reals vellon, and pays duty (octroi) 1.70 reals vellon or 39 per cent.
Biscuit pays customs duty at 4 reals vellon per kilogram, including the tin, and if shipped loose in a cask the same rate of duty is charged on the cask. This is an enormous charge, and it renders all but impossible the importation of the low-priced English biscuits, which are the kind most used. For instance, a No. 2 tin of English "lunch" biscuits weighs 1.350 kilograms, and costs about 4.60 reals vellon; the customs duty is 5.40 reals vellon or 117 per cent.; to this must be added an octroi duty of 2.84 reals vellon or 62 per cent., making a total of 179 per cent.! Boots and shoes pays 35 reals vellon per kilogram, being about 25 per cent. on cost.
Brushes of all kinds are charged duty according to the materials of
which the handles are made; if of wood they pay 4.48 reals vellon; if of bone 10 reals vellon, and if of ivory or of tortoise shell 50 reals vellon per kilogram.
Toys, of whatever material other than gold, silver, tortoise shell, ivory, or mother-of-pearl, pay duty 6 reals vellon per kilogram; two dozen toys weighing 16 kilograms and costing 120 reals vellon are charged with 96 reals vellon for duty, being 80 per cent.
Pharmaceutical and chemical products pay from 0.06 real vellon to 120 reals vellon per kilogram. Calcined or citrated magnesia pays 4 reals vellon per kilogram, or 37 per cent. The bottles are included in the weight and no tare is allowed.
Colors derived from coal and other artificial colors pay 10 reals vellon per kilogram.
Perfumery pays a duty of 8 reals vellon per kilogram. Two packets. of Windsor soap weigh about 1 kilogram, and cost 14 reals vellon; the duty therefore is equal to 57 per cent. The same duty is levied on lower-priced scented soaps, but of good quality, such as glycerine in bars; it amounts to 113 to 140 per cent. on the cost price.
Spirits, cognac, gin, &c., pay duties, viz: Customs, 80 reals vellon per hectoliter; customs (on barrel), 40 reals vellon per 100 kilograms; transitory, 15 reals vellon per hectoliter; octroi, 26 reals vellon per hectoliter. Wines, French, not sparkling, in bottles of 0.70 liter, weighing 0.777 kilogram each bottle: Customs on wine, 24 reals vellon per hectoliter; customs on bottles, 32 reals vellon per 100 kilograms; octroi, 25 reals vellon per hectoliter.
Wines, French, sparkling, pay duties same as above, calculating each bottle to hold 0.80 liter, and to weigh 1 kilogram.
Wines, not French and not sparkling, as follows, viz: Customs, import, on wine 2 reals vellon per liter; customs, import, on casks 40 reals vellon per 100 kilograms; octroi added, 25 reals vellon per hectoliter.
Wines, not French, sparkling.-Customs on wines, 6 reals vellon per liter; customs on bottles, 32 reals vellon per 100 kilograms; octroi added, 25 reals vellon per hectoliter.
Woolens.-Woolen cloths pay 32 reals vellon per kilogram; blanketing, 10 reals vellon per kilogram; carpeting, 7 reals vellon per kilogram. Rugs are charged as skins (article 187 of tariff); the dozen cost, say, 740 reals vellon, and weigh 24 kilograms. They pay duty at 36 reals vellon per kilogram, 864 reals vellon, equal to 117 per cent. on cost price.
Wearing apparel, woolen, pays 32 reals vellon per kilogram, and onehalf extra when made up.
I have given above a complete list of import duties imposed by the Spanish Government on certain classes of goods, but I would refer more particularly to what is called transitory and municipal duties, as well as to the octroi already referred to, all combined proving a great barrier to an active export of manufactured goods from the United States.
A short time since, in order to apparently yield to the many applications of other Governments for a reduction of the Spanish duties, they agreed to discontinue what was then known as the "surcharge" duty, but in its stead they applied others which are represented in this letter, but the existence of which are realized only on the arrival of the merchandise at the port of destination.
UNITED STATES CONSULATE,
H. C. MARSTON,
EXPORT DUTIES OF SPAIN.
REPORT BY CONSUL OPPENHEIM.
I have received on the 19th instant a circular letter from the State Department dated February 15, 1883; said circular calls for a table or schedule of all export duties levied in Spain, and in pursuance to its directions I herewith inclose a statement containing the information required.
Statement showing duties levied upon exports from Spain to foreign countries.
1. Corkwood, when it is the product of the province of Gerona, per 100 kilo
2. Rags, of linen, cotton, or hemp, also old clothing or other articles made of
4. Argentiferous lead .....
Whilst the convention with France is in force, when exported to countries
5. Argentiferous litharge..
Whilst the convention with France is in force, when exported to countries
per 100 kilograms..
NOTE.-Argentiferous lead and argentiferous litharge are only subject to above duties if they contain more than thirty grams of silver in every hundred kilograms; otherwise they are free.
ERNEST L. OPPENHEIM,
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Department circular, dated February 15, 1883, requesting a "table or schedule of all export duties levied in Portugal," &c.
I inclose herewith the schedule requested. It will be observed that the export duties of Portugal are light. In the year 1880, the latest detailed returns being for that year, there was collected on account of export duty on cattle and other living animals $40,222; cork-wood, $41,918; wine, $60,807; vegetable productions, $25,693. Other articles named in the schedule paid smaller amounts.
The customs returns for the years 1881 and 1882 (ending December 31) present the following aggregates:
It will be seen that there was a considerable increase of values, and augmentation of duties collected, in 1882 over the preceding year.
The value of wine exported from Portugal in 1882 is set down at $10,177,148, being about 40 per cent. in value of the entire exportations of the country. The exportation of wine to France has largely increased since the appearance of the phylloxera in the vineyards of the Bordeaux district. The importation of Portuguese wine to France in 1876 was 61,000 hectoliters. During the first nine months of 1881, as reported by the Portuguese consul at Bordeaux, it was 171,292 hectoliters. It is alleged that this wine is prepared or "doctored" for that purpose, and sent into the markets of the world as the genuine French article. It is suggested that wine purchased secretly from manufacturers or dealers in Portugal would assure a purer article at prices considerably less than the cost of the French preparation from the same wine.
The value of cork wood exported from Portugal in 1881 was $2,164,152, of which $502,764 worth was shipped to the United States, England only leading us in the purchase of this article. The cork-wood exportations of 1882 were of the value of $2,631,820.
The other largest exports of the year 1882 were cattle and other living animals, $2,944,751; ores, chiefly copper, $1,695,280; vegetable productions, $1,949,985; and fish, $469,800.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
JOHN M. FRANCIS.
Lisbon, March 24, 1883.
Table of duties levied on merchandise exported from the Portuguese Kingdom.
On foreign merchandise which has been deposited in the custom-house, 14 per cent. ad valorem.
On merchandise of Portuguese origin, with the exception of such articles as are mentioned in the following table, 1 to 14 per cent.