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praiser 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 his 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


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, finding that a consul at one place will certify freely to such certificates as I have described, and at another a con

sul who will not act as though they regarded the circumstance as very remarkable, and make pretense of great indignation toward those who, knowing how a thing should be done, require it to be done so. But so far as my experience goes, the value of the goods covered by these certificates is generally small-in many of those coming to this port less than $100, on some as low as $10 and $15, and is rarely as high as $2,000, $3,000, and $4,000.

It would appear, then, that the fee in many cases is very large. I respectfully beg, therefore, to suggest that the law be so altered as to admit that in cases where there are several consignees combined in one certificate the consul may verify such certificate, provided each of such parties sign the consignee's declaration, the whole for a single fee, this sometimes being allowed, as see note on page 78 of the Consular Regulations, or, say, 50 cents for each additional consignee after the first. The foregoing is with great deference submitted.


Para, Brazil.



The high duties levied by the Government on canned provisions are almost prohibitory, and salmon, lobsters, oysters, and condensed milk, which used to enter largely into every assortment imported, are no longer included to any extent. On the other hand, there are always quantities smuggled into the place, so that the policy of the Government, without even the merit of being protective, as no such goods are put up here, is actually detrimental to the revenue.


I have previously stated that the "50 per cent. additional" on all import duties has been raised to "60 per cent."

In order to show at a glance how burdensome the Brazilian tariff is on our trade, I give below a statement of goods such as are commonly imported or which could be imported conveniently from the United States, with the present rate of customs duty, in money of the United States, on each article. The rate of duty includes the warehouse charge, which applies to all goods except kerosene, fresh fruits, and a very few other articles:

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per pound.. $0 02

Axes, hatchets, spades, hoes, picks, and tools for masons.. per hundred pounds..
Carpenters' and joiners' tools..


Per case 64 pounds net..

Or per pound.

Duties on miscellaneous goods.

Lumber, per cubic meter (1.3 cubic yards).
Men's boots and shoes, per pair....

Platform scales, each capacity 220 pounds..

Platform scales, each capacity 11,000 pounds..

Watches and clocks, each

Pianos, in common use, each.




$1 30 02

3 54

1 10

5 55

69 00

1 00

83 50

It will be seen from the above that the duty imposed on several necessaries, such as butter, cheese, pork, and bacon, exceeds their original cost. To illustrate what a heavy tax has to be paid on a single cargo, I would state that an American sailing ship which arrived here from Boston in the latter part of the month, loaded with apples and ice, paid into the custom-house in duties the sum of $7,330. The duties on 2,400 barrels of apples and 31 barrels of pears amounted to $6,000.

I submit that important reductions of duties on imports from the United States should be demanded in consideration of the latter continuing to admit coffee from Brazil free of duty. We also admit free of duty India rubber, cocoa, and cabinet wood of Brazil.

In my special report of November 23 I had the honor to call attention to the import duties which several European countries collect on coffee: England, 3 cents a pound; Germany, 4 cents; Austria-Hungary, 7 cents; Italy, 10 cents; and France, 14 cents a pound, while for several years the United States has admitted it free of duty. Not only does Brazil tax excessively the goods imported from the United States, but she also collects an export tax amounting to nearly $2,500,000 a year on the coffee which she sells to the United States.



Trade between the United States and this part of Brazil appears to be increasing, it is true, but the imports from the United States, showing, as they do, a volume so much below the exports thereto, are still very far from satisfactory, and, in my opinion, the cause lies mostly with our own people. When I arrived in Para some two years ago two American firms had just commenced business here under, apparently, the most favorable auspices. Many of our merchants and manufacturers at home stood ready to make large consignments to them, and, in fact, large shipments were made to them at the outset, but the returns being very unsatisfactory, and continuing so, both firms were obliged to wind up their business, and went out of existence in about eighteen months from

the date of opening, leaving but one house which accounts itself American in Para. The main cause of the non-success of these firms I consider to have been lack of a knowledge of the language of the country. There is great competition here among the English, German, and Portuguese merchants, &c., and the mercantile business of the place presents many peculiar features, which absolutely requires time for a foreigner, particularly, it appears to me, for an American, to become acquainted with. The peculiarities of the Brazilian tariff also, and the methods and customs in vogue at the custom-house here, and the losses oftentimes sustained by mistakes in violating some customs regulations, or by not knowing how to have merchandise manufactured and packed so as to be admitted at the lowest rate of duty, and, also, so as to avoid fines and penalties, operate very discouragingly on a beginner, and when to these is added ignorance of the language of the people, the discouragement is very greatly increased.

I would not advise any American to attempt business in Brazil without first acquiring a good knowledge of the Portuguese language, for it is really an indispensable necessity in order to succeed.

I consider that the establishment of American commercial houses in Brazil would do more toward increasing our trade with this people than could be accomplished by any other means. Undoubtedly in the course of time we shall be much more numerously represented here than we are at present, but the process must, I think, be very slow unless there shall be a change of tactics. There appears to be but few American clerks in Brazil, even in American houses, and in this, so far as my knowledge extends, American merchants differ much from British and German, whose clerks are generally of their own nationality. I believe if a number of young Americans of good character and business ability, and well up in the Portuguese language, could manage to obtain positions in sound commercial houses in each of the principal cities on the coast of Brazil, in due time they would make their influence greatly felt in our trade. But to go to work the other way, that is, establish, get out a stock of merchandise, invite consignments, &c., and then begin to learn the language and the business methods of the people, is to put both capital and credit to extraordinary risks, most generally fatal to success, as results have shown. A. C. PRINDLE,


Para, October, 1880.




August 16, 1883.

On May 1, 1872, the rate of export duty on coffee, as fixed by the imperial Government, was 9 per cent. ad valorem. This rate was estab lished by act of September 26, 1867, and so remained until the 30th of October last, when it was reduced by Parliament to 7 per cent., at which figure it now stands. An additional export duty of 4 per cent. is collected by the province in which the coffee is grown. This rate prevailed May 1, 1872, and has continued unchanged.



In my dispatch No. 14, dated February 25 last, I called attention to the fact that there was pending in the House of Deputies a bill for the reduction of the tax upon coffee to 3 per cent. This measure failed to pass; but there was afterwards introduced a bill reducing the export duties on coffee, sugar, cotton, and maté 2 per cent., and increasing the import duties on all articles taxed 10 per cent., which bill passed both houses and received the imperial sanction, and went into operation on the 9th instant.


The effect on the coffee market was very great, as it gave to those who were holding coffee in foreign markets and to those who had shipped just prior to the 9th the disadvantage of competing with those who had the benefit of the reduction.

As the margin of profit on coffee is very small, the difference of 2 per cent. must entail great losses to the large shippers who were caught with heavy stocks.

The planters complain that with this reduction even they will meet with immense losses on this year's crop, as the yield is enormous, and the foreign markets being overstocked the selling price is kept low. In some instances planters are gathering but part of a crop, as they say it will not pay to transport it to the market.

The former Government tax on coffee exported was 9 per cent., to which was added a provincial tax of 4 per cent., making a total of 13 per cent. The Government tax is now 7 per cent. and the provincial remains unchanged.

The price of coffee is lower than it has been for many years.

The increase of 10 per cent. in the import duties will of course come out of the pockets of the consumer.

I inclose an article on both subjects taken from the Rio News of the 5th instant.




Rio de Janeiro, November 15, 1882.

[From the Rio News, November 5, 1882.]

The new additional tax of 10 per cent. on imports, together with the increase in warehouse charges and the reduction of 2 per cent. in the export duties on coffee, sugar, cotton, and maté, are to go into execution on the 9th instant. On and after that date the additional tax on the schedule rates will be 60 instead of 50 per cent. The new rates for the customs warehouses will be one-half per cent. for the first month, which will be collected on all entries, whether they remain in the customhouse or not. For two months the tax will be 1 per cent. per month; for three months, 14 per cent. per month; and for periods exceeding three months, 2 per cent. per month, or 24 per cent. per annum-the tax being levied upon the duties imposed upon the goods. The effect of these laws can be no other than the restriction of importation. The mercantile classes will be obliged to import on shorter time and to

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