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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 692


692                          FOREIGN     RELATIONS.
proposed in its stead as guaranties for the suppression of bounties. These
consisted
of modifications in the system now in force in Belgium. This is based upon
the
volume and the density of the juice, which the Belgian Government believes
to be
ascertained with accuracy by means of an apparatus provided with an automatic
meter, a drawing and description of which will be found herewith (inclosure
A, p. 10).
It is now assumed, for purposes of taxation, that for every hectoliter of
volume, and
for every degree of density registered by this apparatus 1,500 grams of sugar
are
obtained, and this is taxed at 45 francs per 100 kilograms; but it is well
known
that the actual yield of sugar is much greater. With a view to doing away
with the
difference between the legal and the actual yield, M. Guillaume proposed
to raise
the former (prise en charge) to 1,700 grams, and to reduce the tax from 45
to '25
francs per 100 kilograms. He claimed that these modifications, if adopted,
would
afford complete guaranties for the abolition of bounties, and gave his reasons
at
considerable length; but they were not deemed satisfactory, such abolition
being
impossible, in the opinion of most of the delegates, of accomplishment by
the means
proposed by M. Guillaume, for the reason that no fixed legal yield could
be settled
upon as an equivalent of the actual yield, which must vary, as already stated,
in ac-
cordance with the richness of the beet. Full particulars of the discussion
on this
subject will be found in the minutes (inclosure A, pp. 45-50).
   The delegates promised to submit to their respective Governments the Belgian
pro-
 posals, intimating clearly, however, that they would not be considered satisfactory.
   After adopting the report of the committee the conference adjourned until
Wed-
 nesday, December 14, when its fifth sitting (inclosure A, page 52) was held.
   An ineffectual attempt was made on this occasion by the French and Dutch
dele-
 gates to induce their Belgian colleague to modify the position assumed by
him at the
 last meeting.
   Mr. Dupuy de LUme, of Spain, then raised a question of importance, especially
to
 countries not belonging to the sugar union, which it is hoped (and in my
opinion not
 without reason) will be the outcome of the conference, namely, as to the
guaranties
 to be given to countries within the union against the importation from those
not
 parties thereto of bounty-fed sugar, which he maintained would, if allowed,
be equiva-
 lent to the imposition of a discriminating duty upon non-bountied sugar,
and would
 be a violation of the most favored nation clause in many treaties of commerce.
   This question, although it evoked no general expression of opinion, was
deemed
 worthy of serious consideration, and it is to be submitted during the adjournment
to
 the various Governments represented. It will undoubtedly be again brought
forward
 when the conference re-assembles in April next, and a penal clause will
not improbably
 be inserted in the treaty.
   M. Verkerk Pistorius, of Holland, also raised the question of 11surtaxes,"
which
 he explained to be the difference between the tax levied in a country upon
home-
 made sugar and the duty charged upon sugar imported from abroad. He expressed
 a desire to have a clause inserted in the treaty prohibiting I surtaxes,"
on the ground
 that any country, by allowing an import duty in excess of the internal tax
on sugar,
 could at once create protection for its home market, and that such protection
might,
 by developing the manufacture of sugar, enable a country of the union largely
to
 increase its exports of that commodity.
   There was some discussion of-this question, which was eventually dropped,
most of
 the delegates stating that they were without instructions on the subject,
as their
 respective Governments had not deemed "1surtaxes" to be within
the range of the
 deliberations of the 6onference; the more so, as no rule could be laid down
in the
 inatter without interfering with the right of each nation to impose such
import duties
 as it might deem advantageous or desirable. It was, moreover, distinctly
intimated
 that certain countries-France and Russia among the number--would not undertake
 to abolish "surtaxes," as such a step would deprive-them of theright
to reserve their
 home markets to their own sugar, should they wish to do so. I do not think
this sub-
 ject will be again brought forward upon the re-assembling of the conference;
certainly
 not with any chances of success; but it is to be submitted by the delegates
to their
 Governments.
 The Earl of Onslow, before the adjournment of the conference, in reply to
a sug-
 gestion of the French delegate that it would be impossible to conclude any
ar-
 raugement on the sugar-bounties question without including therein the British
colo-
 nies, stated that of all the self-governing colonies of this Empire Victoria
and New
 Zealand alone give bounties; the former grants one of a half penny per pound,
which
 bas thus far never been claimed or paid, and in the latter a bounty of 3s.
6d. per hun-
 dred-weight exists, but he hoped that before March 1 these two colonies
and all the
others excluded by Article VIII of the proposed convention would have agreed
to
become parties thereto.
  The proceedings of the seventh and last meeting of the conference, which
took
place on Monday, December 19, were chiefly formal.
  The Spanish delegates presented a memorandum of their proposal with regard
to
a penal clause (inclosure A, p. 58.)


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