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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the fiftieth Congress, 1888-'90
(1888-1889)

Great Britain,   pp. 685-828 PDF (61.2 MB)


Page 690


  690                         FOREIGN     RELATIONS.
  atives accredited to the governments invited to participate, a copy of
which is
  doubtless on file at the Department of State.
    According to the terms of this dispatch, the attention of the proposed
conference
 would be particularly called to the following points, without, however,
excluding
 others bearing on the sugar industry which the delegates might wish to consider:
    (1) The means of remedying the unsettled condition of the sugar trade.
    (2) The possibility of adoption by the Governments represented of a system
of refin-
 ing and manufacturing in bond.
   (3) The elaboration of a system of duties and drawbacks, which should
render any
 difference between them in favor of exporters of sugar an impossibility.
   (4) The examination of any proposals tending to guaranty the abolition
of bounties
 which might be made.
   It has long been obvious here that the sugar industry of Great Britain
has been
 seriously impaired by the heavy bounties given by certain Governments (France
and
 Germany in particular) to their exporters, who were thereby enabled, with
profit to
 themselves, to place sugar on the London market at a lower rate than it
could possi-
 bly be produced in this country save at a considerable loss.
   That this has been the case for some time past with regard to sugar imported
from
 the United States is well known, and the attention of the Secretary of the
Treasury
 was called last year to the fact that our Government was giving bounties,
to the ex-
 tent of thousands of dollars annually, in the shape of drawbacks, by Mr.
Phelps' dis-
 patch No. 300, of June 19, 1886, which was based upon information furnished
to him
 by an American resident of London, to the effect that by means of the excess
of draw-
 backs received upon sugar exported from New York over the duty originally
paid
 upon the importation of the raw material from the West Indies, the refiners
of that
 city were able to sell their sugar, with profit, in the London market at
a lower price
 than that originally paid for the raw material.
   The drawback has since been reduced, but it still affords a bounty to
our exporters.
   Urgent representations, which are fully set forth in the accompanying
Blue Book
 on sugar bounties, issued in 1884 by the board of trade (inclosure B), have
been made
 on the subject at different times to successive British ministries, and
there have been
 attempts by this country since 1880 to persuade certain Governments to take
part
 in a conference, with a view to the abolition of bounties; but it is only
this year
 that these efforts have met with success.
   As it can not be supposed that any of the Governments, in consenting to
send dele-
gates to the conference, were actuated by other motives than self-interest,
it must
be assumed that they have found the system of giving bounties, which in certain
countries, from motives of self-protection, have been steadily increasing
in amount,
more than their budgets would stand, and that they have consequently arrived
at
the conclusion that it- is contrary to their interests to continue the 4lisbursement
an-
nually of large sums, the chief effect of which is to cheapen the price of
sugar to the
British consumer.
   The question of bounties in our own and certain other countries is treated
so fully
 in a very interesting pamphlet by Dr. W. H. Wiley on the sugar industry
of the
 United States, published by the Department of Agriculture, at Washington,
in 1885
 (Bulletin No. 5, Chemical Division), that I deem it unneceseary to dwell
at length
 upon the subject.
 The manner is therein set forth in which the exportation of sugar is encouraged
by
 the payment of Government bounties, usually in the excess of drawbacks over
duties.
 These drawbacks are supposed to be exactly equal in amount to the duties,
but as a
 matter of fact this is not the case; for the reason that it is often difficult,
if not in-
 possible, to ascertain the exact quantity of sugar which can be obtained
from a given
 amount of beets or cane; as this depends not only upon the quality of the
machinery,
 but also upon that of the raw material used. In Belgium, for instance, where
there is
 a fixed legal yield (prise en charge), it appears that the beet is much
richer in the north,
 and consequently productive of more sugar than in the south.
 The first sitting of the conference wasbdevoted to the election of officers,
the senior
 British delegate, Baron Henry de Worms, M. P., parliamentary secretary of
the board
 of trade, being chosen president, and the Comte de Kuefstein, representing
Austria-
 Hungary, vice-president.
 Papers embodying statistics of the sugar trade, and also the systems of
taxation,
 duties, and drawbacks prevalent in each of the countries represented, were
laid be-
 fore the conference at this meeting. The details contained in these documents,
which
 were furnished by the different powers at the request of the British Government,
are
 of much interest, and are transmitted herewith (inclosure A, pp. 2-29).
 After the expression in happily worded speeches (inclosure A. p. 31) by
the presi-
dent and vice-president of a hope, in which M. Guillaume, of Belgium, concurred,
that the conference imight be able to agree npon means for omrrying into
effect the
object for which it had come together, namely, the abolition of bounties,
direct and
indirect, upon the exportation of sugur, an adjournment wvaQtei t~o Moa.r
N~ovem-


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