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TARIFF PROTECTION IN HOLLAND.
REPORT BY OONSUL ECKSTEIN, OF AMSTERDAM, TRANSMITTING A PETITION FROM
TIE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF HELMOND TO THE KING, ASKING TARIFF PROTECTION.
I have the honor to inclose herewith a translated copy of a petition addressed by the Chamber of Commerce of the city of Helmond, prov. ince of North Brabant, to the King of the Netherlands.
The petition sets forth, and presumably correctly and truthfully, the present unsatisfactory condition in which the industries of the place are now carried on in consequence, as is claimed, of the at present existing import duties, and prays:
1st. That the tariff on imports of manufactured goods may be changed, and in accordance with the tariffs now in force in or respecting other countries.
2.1. That the commercial intercourse between the Netherlands and its colonies be freed from every obstruction, and that foreign manufactures, on being imported into the said colonies, shall, so far as possible, bo made to pay the saine duties as prevail in the Netherlands.
Helmond is not one of the most important manufacturing towns in the Netherlands, but the sentiments there manifested on this subject, and the movement in favor of “protection" there initiated, seems, so far as I can learn, to strike a responsive chord, and is fully indorsed by the representatives of the industrial interests throughout the country, as well as by the artisans and workmen in all manufactories.
How this movement for a higher rate of duty on many articles will result it would be difficult to predict for the present. In commercial and financial circles it does not as yet appear to meet with much support, the merchant class being still inclined to free trade. The news. paper press of the country, at least the most influential part of it, opposes protection. On the other hand, it should be remarked that the present national financial conditions as relating to revenne, expenditures, and taxation is such as to raise great hopes on the part of all who advocate legislation in favor of protection.
The budget, they say, for the two fiscal years last past has shown deficits of large amounts. A loan of about 80,000,000 florins was emitted less than a year ago, and the negotiation of another for about 50,000,000 is now spoken of.
Thus is the interest on the national debt vastly increasing; immense sums of money are constantly required on account of the ever turbulent state of Atjeh, whilst various important and indispensable works on national account demand immediate appropriations; aud all this at a time when the wisdom and patriotism of the national legislators of the country are taxed to the utmost to provide the necessary means for defraying the ever increasing expenditures. The burdens of direct taxation are already so severely felt that a still
a further increase thereof would be found oppressive and unpopular.
But it seems to be generally realized that in some way provision must be made for raising larger sums of money than are at present available and derived from existing resources.
It would appear, therefore, not to be at all unlikely that a considerable increase in the duties on many articles of import may in the not very far distant future be resorted to, particularly as the States General, now in session, has already a bill providing for an increase in the duties on grain, wood (timber and lumber), and tea.
Consul. UNITED STATES CONSULATE,
Amsterdam, October 17, 1883.
PETITION OF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF HELMOND.
[Translated.) The Chamber of Commerce and Manufactures at Helmond respectfully submits to Your Majesty:
That they feel themselves compelled to point out to Your Majesty the pernicious effect which, in our opinion, the abolishnient of the different duties in our colouies, and the low import duties in our country, in connection with the exorbitant-almost prohibitory-import duties in contiguous countries, have exercised and shall continue to exercise with increased force on the prosperity of our country.
That the advantages which were so sanguinely held forth to the nation on the introduction of the free-trade system bave remained unfulfilled, while the prejudicial consequences have made themselves felt from the very beginning in a high degree, have now attained their climax, and menace our Dutch industry with complete ruin.
That the great extension of our navigation anticipated by the advocates of freetrade system (which anticipations have for a great part conduced to the introduction of that system) has not been veritied.
That, on the contrary, a comparison with the extension of the navigation of the protected Belgium furnishes results most discouraging to our country, as, among others, the following figures prove:
Tonnage of vessels arrived in port.
That also the great prosperity of our trade, with which the advocates of the freetrade system had flattered themselves, has remained unrealized.
That after the introduction of that system, the formerly so tourishing sugar trade has entirely fallen off, the coffee and tobacco trade has declined, the linen-drapery and retail business languishes.
That the advantages of free trade promised to the consumer have not been obtained; the prices of daily necessaries, with exception of a few things of minor importance, have not diminisbed, but of some articles they have actually risen.
That the injurious influence which free trade (at least if not attended with reciprocity) must continue to exercise, especially on our industry, has made itself felt in a much bigher degree than anybody could bave imagined.
That soon after the introduction of the free-trade system whole branches of industry in our country have been entirely ruived.
That almost all branches of industry which hitherto have been able to maintain their standing are tending to total decay.
That now, even for many articles, in consequence of the foreign manufactures bringing their superabundant productions on the Dutch markets, all competition, even at home, becomes impossible for the Netherland manufacturer.
That the fatal consequences thereof have of late made themselves felt in an alarming manner is proved by the fact that important factories have been shut up and the waves in many others lowered.
That shortly the closing of many more factories and the abridgment of the working hours in others may be expected; that all measures have already been taken by manufacturers to keep themselves standing, such as economizing on the materials, increasing the powers of production, &c.
That whatever measure may be had recourse to, the unfortunate operative will at last experience the fatal consequence of free trade.
That, supposing the price of the daily necessaries to have diminished by free trade, which is not the case, the operative will only enjoy the benefit thereof when his finan. cial means are in a favorable proportion to the price of his requirements, whether they be bigh or low.
That, for instance, the operative who earns 15 cents per hour in a country where bread costs 12 cents, is better off than the operative who lives in a country where the bread costs only 10 cents, but who can earn 10 cents per hour.
That the diminution of wages must be regarded with regret.
That these wages are already too low (in Twente only 60 to 70 cents per day, and here in Helmond 90 to 100 cents), and the least diminution entails poverty, misery, and indigence.
That the lower ranks and the petty tradesmen experience in no small degree the injurious reaction thereof.
That also in Helmond the injurious and disturbing consequences of free trade are felt in a high degree.
That petitioners, to rescue the industry of Helmond, and concerned for the unhappy fate of the poor operative, feel themselves bound to do what they can to bring about a beneficial change in the present condition.
That they, to demonstrate how, even for the most important Helmond manufacturing products, export to the principal neighboring States is an impossibility, venture to submit the following tignires to Your Majesty's notice:
In Germany an import duty is levied, per 100 kilograms, on
Cotton, unbleached, 80 marks; same, bleached. 100 marks; same, printed or dyed, 120 marks; ready-made clothes, 300 marks; threads, printed or dyed: To No. 17, 24 marks; from Nos. 17 to 45, 30 marks; from Nos. 45 to 60, 36 marks; from No. 79 and higher, 48 marks; butter and artificial butter, 20 marks; nails, 10 marks; cigars, 270 warks; tobacco, 180 marks.
In Franco import duties are levied, per 100 kilograms, on
Cottons, un bleached, 62 to 100 francs; same, bleached, 15 per cent higher; Turkey red, 122 to 162 francs; other colors, 92 to 130 francs; ready-made clothes, 10 per cent higher; threads, printed or dyed: Nos. 204 to 304, 55 francs; Turkey red, 30 francs and higher; butter, salted, 15 francs; nails, 8 france; tobacco and cigars probibited.
That such high import duties are equal to being prohibitive; that several Helmond manufacturers, in consequence, no longer send their goods abroail, and are as prejudiced by overproduction as is the case elsewhere, which is thrown on our Dutch markets by foreign manufacturers; that if this state of things be not changed the Helmond industrial establishments will be obliged ere long to be closed or the working hours to be considerably abridged.
For which reasons they respectfully but urgently pray Your Majesty that it may please Your Majesty to bring in a bill to break with the system of free trade, and to enact
1st. That the tariffs of import duties on foreign manufactured articles may be brought in accordance with the tariffs of the respective countries; and
2d. That between Netherlands and her colonies a free and mencumbered commercial intercourse may obtain, and that as much as possible the same duties be levied in the colonies on foreign productions as such articles are subjected to in our Kingdom in Europe. And your petitioners, &c.,
THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND MANUFACTURES. HELMOND, September 12, 1883.
INCREASE OF BELGIAN IMPORT DUTIES.
REPORT BY CONSUL WILSON, OF BRUSSELS.
I have the honor to report that a bill has just been passed by the Senate and House of Representatives of this country, largely increasing the import duties on tobacco, coffee, cacao, vinegar, alcohol, and alcoholic spirits. In recommending the passage of this bill to the Chambers, the minister of finance gave as his motive the fact that the importers of this merchandise, knowing that the Government contemplated in the near future a very considerable increase of their entry charges, had stored an enormous quantity of them in the warehouses appropriated to
S. Doc. 231, pt 5-6
merchandise entered for consumption, with the object of thus escaping the increased duty when the new tariff law would come into force.
According to the statement laid before the Chambers by him, there was imported into the country, ostensibly for consumption, from the 1st of November, 1882, to the 31st January, 1883, 8,046,000 kilograms of leaf tobacco, and of coffee 14,924,000 kilograms, whilst during the preceding year the importations of tobacco only amounted to 2,242,000 kilograms, and of coffee to 5,310,000. The amount of these importations has been so largely in excess of the demand for consumption that the legislature, under the conviction that a fraud upon the revenue was intended by the importers, passed the bill almost without discussion, but, as they did not wish to resort to retrospective legislation, they enacted that it should take effect immediately after its passage, and inserted a provision that if the duties should be definitely mo'lified so as to cor. respond to the provisional tariff of this law before the first day of August next, any excess imposed by it should be remitted to the importers.
Notwithstanding the fact that this law is but provisional, it applies to some of our exportations, and its tariff provisions may become permanent; consequently I give below a translation of the five articles of which it is composed :
Provisional tariff bill on tobacco, coffee, cacao, whisky, and vinegar. ARTICLE 1. The duties on coffee and tobacco shall be provisionally modified in the following manner:
Francs. On raw coffee.
per 100 kilos.. 30 On roasted coffee On leaf tobacco....
100 On cigars and cigarettes..
300 Ou other manufactured tobacco.
Art. 2. The Government is authorized to provisionally modify the duties on cacao, alcohol, spirits, vinegar, and acetic acid, in the following mamer:
Francs On cacao ...
per 100 kilos.. 50 On prepared cacao.
...do.... 65 On brandies and whiskies of at least 50° strength when in barrels.. per hectoliter.. 100 And for each degree above 500
2 When in bottles (without distinction of the degree)
200 On all other spirits ...
134 On vinegar and other liquids of acetic acid, and containing less than 8 per cent of pure acetic acid.
per hectoliter.. 12 More than 8 per cent and less than 50 per cent
50 Fifty per cent and more
80 On crystallized acetic acid..
per 100 kilos.. 100 Art. 3. If the duties on the above articles shall not be definitely modified according to law before the 1st of August, 1883, the duties now in force will again be applieil.
ART. 4. Any difference between the dnties received in virtue of this act and those which will be imposed after Angust 1 will be returned to the parties concerued. ART. 5. This bill shall take eflect the day after its publication.
Consul. CONSULATE OF THE UNITED STATES,
Brussels, June 4, 1883.