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United States Department of State / The executive documents of the House of Representatives for the first session of the fiftieth Congress. 1887-'88
(1887-1888)

Siam,   pp. 972-974 PDF (1.2 MB)


Page 973


                                 SIAM.                              973
                                 No. 606.
                       Mr. Bayard to Mr. Child.
No. 18.1                               DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
                                             Washington, July 1, 1887.
  SIR: I have received your No. 25 of May" 10, 1887, transmitting to
the Department a copy of a new law, agreed to by the committee of
representatives of the treaty powers in Siam, for the regulation of the
importation and sale of spirituous liquors in that country. You therein
inclose a copy of a note from  the Siamese foreign office of April 30
last, expressing the hope that the law will be acceptable to the United
States, and recommend that the assent of this Department be given to
its going into operation on the 1st of September next, the timeM sug.
gested in the note of Prince Devawongse for that purpose.
   It is regretted that there is an ambiguity not noticed in your dis.
 patch, in section 4 of the law, which, if correctly interpreted -by the
 Department, would preclude its assenting to the law, on the ground
 that it violates the provisions of the treaty concluded between the
 United States and Siam, on the 14th of May, 1884, for the regulation of
 the liquor traffic in the latter country.
   Article I of this treaty provides that "beer and wines maybe imported
 and sold by citizens of the United States on payment of the same duty
 as that levied by the Siamese excise laws upon similar articles manu-
 factured in Siam, but the duty on imported beer and wines shall in no
 case exceed 10 per cent. ad valorem."
   Article V of the treaty contains the following stipulation:.
 Citizens of the.United States shall at all times enjoy the same.rights and
privi.
 leges in regard to the importation and sale of spirits, beer, wines, and
spirituous
 liquors in Siam as the subjects of the most favored nation; and spirits,
beer, wines,
 and spirituous liquors coming from the United States shall enjoy the same
privileges
 in all respects as similar articles coming from any other country the most
favored'in
 this respect.
    These two articles place a precise limit to the duty-which may be
 imposed by the Government in Siam       upon beer and wines imported
 and sold by the citizens of the United States and guarantied most
 favored nation treatment, both for citizens of the United States in
 respect to the importation and sale of spirits, beer, and wines, and for
 spirits, beer, wines, and spirituous liquors coming from the United
 States.
    Section 4 of the law reads as follows:
    No spirituous liquors,, excepting wine and beer actually made in Europe,
shall be
  consumed, sold, or exposed for sale, in any city, town, or place in the
Kingdom of
  Siam, unless there shall have been previously paid in respect of them either
the im-
  port duty or the excise duty chargeable as hereinafter specified. Such
duties shall
  be chargeable at the rate and on the scale following, that is to say: Eight
ticals 1nd
  twenty-four atts for every te of twenty tanans of one hundred cubic nins
containing
  under 50 per cent. of absolute alcohol by volume (equal to $1.20 for every
gallon, 261
  cents per liter), and proportional sums, in every case for higher 'quantities
and dif-
  ferent alcoholic strength. No beers or wines of any'kind shall be consumed,
sold, or
  exposed for sale in any city, town, or place in the Kingdom of Siam, unless
there
  shall have been previously paid in respect of them either an import dutyy
of 5 per cent.
  on the value thereof, or an excise duty to the same amount, according to
the detailed
  scale hereto annexed in schedule 17.
    As the Department reads this section it contains a palpable discrimi-
  nation against beer and wines manufactured i1 the United States. In-
  stead of being subjected to the ad valorem duty of 5 per cent. they
  would be assessed at the rate of duty charged on other spirituous !~iquors,
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