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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa
(1937)

Belgium,   pp. 219-237 PDF (7.1 MB)


Page 230


FOREIGN RELATIONS, 19 3 7, VOLUME II
determining the effect upon American business of measures taken by
the Belgian authorities. This reluctance which I have encountered
in other posts is for the most part due to fear that this information
may reach their American and other competitors, and it is not always
easy to secure sufficiently detailed information to serve as a basis for
representations.
  Since the Cabinet crisis referred to above there has been a noticeable
revival of abuses which fall into a number of clearly defined categories
which may be briefly indicated as follows:
  (1) Duties have been increased through the subterfuge of increasing
the valuation on a number of articles on which a quota was bound
under the Trade Agreement. One item particularly involved is la-
dies' dresses. (See Annex IV of the enclosed memorandum.) 19
  (2) Although quotas have not been established for articles on which
only the duty is bound by the Trade Agreement the same purpose has
been achieved by establishing quotas on certain important commodities
not specifically included under the Trade Agreement, thereby vitiating
our benefits under the Treaty.
  Although automobile tires were not specifically included in the
Trade Agreement, they are obviously considered as an essential factor
in the automobile business. This would appear to be clearly shown by
the action of the Belgian authorities themselves in giving tires a spe-
cific value in their requirements for the incorporation of 40%o of labor
and materials in cars assembled in Belgium. The clear purpose of this
measure is to bar so far as possible the importation of American tires
and thereby permit the increased use of Belgian tires.
  It will be remembered that the duty on Diesel motors was reduced
under the terms of the Trade Agreement. Since the Agreement went
into effect consideration has been given to the establishment of a
quota, and while matters have not yet gone so far, other expedients
adopted by the Belgian authorities have for all practical purposes
achieved the approximate effect of a quota. As matters now stand, a
Belgian (lesirous of importing a Diesel motor from the United States
is called on for such extensive and vexatious information and for the
disclosure of trade secrets to such an extent that, coupled with the delay
in granting the license, he is turning more and more to the purchase of
Diesel motors from other countries. (A more complete statement in
regard to these two items will be found in Annex III of the enclosed
memorandum.)
  (3) Licensing systems have been established for various articles.
At the time this system was established, it was explained that the
system would have no restrictive application but was merely set up in
order to make sure of full statistical information as to imports into
11 Memorandum and its annexes not printed.
230


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