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in the daily press that propositions were pending in our Congress to impose a heavy duty upon Argentine hides, which for many years had been upon the free list, and to increase the duty on Argentine wool. Since the adoption of the recommendations of the conference, which I herewith inclose, hides have been restored to the free list, but the duty upon carpet wool remains, and, as the Argentine delegates declared, represents the only concession we have to offer them in exchange for the removal of duties upon our peculiar products.
Only those who have given the subject careful study realize the magnitude of the commerce of these sister nations. In 1888 the combined imports of Chili and the Argentine Republic reached the enormous sum of $233,127,698. The statistics of Chilian commerce for 1889 have not yet been received, but the imports of the Argentine Republic for that year were $143,000,000. These imports consisted in the greater part of articles that could have been furnished by the manufacturers of the United States; yet in 1888, of the total of $233,000,000 imports, we contributed but $13,000,000; while England contributed $90,000,000; Germany, $43,000,000; and France, $34,000,000.
With our extraordinary increase in population, and even more extraordinary increase in material wealth, our progress in trade with South America has been strangely hindered and limited.
In 1868 our total exports to all the world were $375,737,000, of which $53,197,000 went to Spanish America-14 per cent.
In 1888 our exports to all the world were $742,368,000, an increase of 100 per cent., while but $69,273,000 went to Spanish America, little more than 9 per cent.; and the greatest gain (nine millions) has been noticed during the last two years.
It was the unanimous judgment of the delegates that our exports to these countries and to the other republics could be increased to a great degree by the negotiation of such treaties as are recommended by the conference. The practical, every-day experience of our merchants engaged in the trade demonstrates beyond a question that in all classes of merchandise which we have long and successfully produced for export, they are able to compete with their European rivals in quality and in price; and the reiterated statement that our Latin-American neighbors do not buy of us because we do not buy of them, or because we tax their products, has been annually contradicted by the statistics of our commerce for a quarter of a century. The lack of means for reaching their markets has been the chief obstacle in the way of increased exports. The carrying trade has been controlled by European merchants who have forbidden an exchange of commodities. The merchandise we sell in South America is carried there in American ships, or foreign ships chartered by American commission houses. The merchandise we buy in South America is brought to us in European vessels that never take return cargoes, but sail for Liverpool, Havre, Bremen, or Hamburg with wheat, corn and cotton. There they load again with manufactured goods for the South American markets, and continue their triangular voyages, paying for the food they are compelled to buy of us with the proceeds of the sale of their manufactures in markets that we could and would supply if we controlled the carrying trade.
France taxes imports as we do, and in 1880, her merchants suffered, as ours do now, for the lack of transportation facilities with the Argentine Republic. Under liberal encouragement from the government, direct and regu. Îar steamship lines were established between Havre and Buenos Ayres, and as a direct and natural result, her exports increased from $8,292,872 in 1880 to $22,996,000 in 1888.
The experience of Germany furnishes an even more striking example. In 1880 the exports from Germany to the Argentine Republic were only $2,365,152. In 1888 they were $13,310,000. “This result," writes Mr. Baker, our most
useful and intelligent consul at Buenos Ayres, “is due, first, to the establishment of quick and regular steam communication between the two countries; second, to the establishment of branch houses by German merchants and manufacturers; and third, to the opening of a German Argentine bank to facilitate exchange.”
There is no direct steamship communication whatever between the United States and the Argentine Republic; and there are no direct banking facilities. The International American Conference has earnestly recommended the establishment of both; but reciprocal exchanges of tariff concessions will be equally effective in stimulating commerce and in increasing the export of the products of which we have the largest surplus not only to the progressive republic named, but to all the other American nations.
The conference believed that while great profit would come to all the countries if reciprocity treaties should be adopted, the United States would be by far the greatest gainer. Nearly all the articles we export to our neighbors are subjected to heavy customs taxes; so heavy, in many cases, as to prohibit their consumption by the masses of the people. On the other hand, more than 87 per cent. of our imports from Latin America are admitted free, leaving but 12 per cent. upon which duties may still be removed. But mindful of the fact that the United States has, from time to time, removed the duties from coffee, cocoa, India-rubber, hides, cinchona bark, dye and cabinet woods, and other Latin-American products, our government may confidently ask the concession suggested.
The increased exports would be drawn alike from our farms, our factories, and our forests. None of the Latin-American countries produce building lumber; the most of them are dependent upon foreign markets for their breadstuffs and provisions; and in few is there any opportunity or inclination for mechanical industry.
The effect of such reciprocity would be felt in every portion of the land. Not long ago, the Brazilian Mail Steamship. Company took the trouble to trace to its origin every article that composed the cargo carried by one of its steamers to Rio de Janeiro, and the investigation disclosed the fact that thirtysix States and Territories contributed to the total, as follows:
$2,647 00 Vermont. 96 00 Maryland.
2,359 00 Delaware. 20,908 00 Mississippi.
2,056 00 Illinois, 19,331 47 Louisiana..
2,111 00 New Jersey: 17,054 40 Wyoming..
1,800 00 Pennsylvania. 43,065 00 Oregon.
1,183 00 Connecticut. 11,874 00 Tennessee.
1,150 00 Kansas .. 11,332 00 Iowa...
807 00 Indiana. 9,098 00 South Carolina.
587 00 Massachusetts.
781 00 Ohio
576 00 New Hampshire. 6,035 00 California.
239 00 Missouri.. 5,773 00 Dakota.
220 00 Georgia.
162 00 Rhode Island.. 4,020 00 Nebraska.
125 00 Michigan 3,732 00 Alabama.
56 00 Virginia. 3,704 54 Florida.
40 00 Maine.
2,765 00 Minnesota
Total.... $301,417 41 The 12 per cent. of our imports from Latin America upon which duties are still assessed consists only of raw sugar and the coarse grades of wool used in the manufacture of carpets.
The sugar-growing nations comprise four-fifths or forty millions, of Latin America; but with geographical conditions against them, their free labor can not successfully compete with the coolie labor of the European colonies. A slight discrimination in their favor would greatly stimulate their agricultural interests, enlarge their purchasing power, and tend to promote friendly sentiments and intercourse.
The wool-growing nations are Chili, Uruguay, and the Argentine Republic, and from them our manufacturers of carpets receive a great portion of their supply. It was most strongly urged by the delegates who had carefully studied this subject that the free admission of coarse wools from these countries could not prove injurious to the wool growers of the C'nited States, because the greater profit derived by them from the higher grades discourages, if it does not actually prohibit, their procluction. On the contrary, they maintained that the free importation of the coarse wool would result in a large reduction in the cost of the cheaper grades of carpets, and enable the manufacturers of the United States to secure an enormous export trade in these fabrics. It was also suggested that the use of the coarse wools for the purpose of adulteration in the manufacture of clothing might be prevented by requiring that imports withdrawn for the manufacture of carpets should be so designated to exempt them from customs dues, and the existing duty retained upon those used for other purposes.
The wool growers of the Argentine Republic protest against what they consider a serious discrimination against their products in the tariff laws of the United States, which impose a duty upon the gross weight instead of the value of the article.
The Argentine wools are much heavier in grease and dirt than those from Australia and New Zealand, which is said to be due to unavoidable climatic conditions, and sell at a lower price. But the imports from the three countries are subject to the same duty. This fact was very strongly urged, to the end that at least equal advantages should be given to the products of a friendly country with which we are endeavoring to build up a trade.
The Argentines desire the free admission of their coarse wool, and other Latin-American states desire the free admission of their sugar to the ports of this country, with the understanding that our peculiar products shall, in turn, be admitted free into their ports. At present, by reason of the high duties levied by them, the chief articles of our production are beyond the purchasing power of the great mass of the people in those countries, and are luxuries which only the wealthy can enjoy.
Excepting raw cotton, our four largest exports during the last fiscal year were breadstuffs, provisions, refined petroleum, and lumber.
The following statement shows the total exports of each of said articles in 1889, and the proportion exported to Latin America:
Exported to ARTICLES.
Total Exports. Latin America. Breadstuffs...
$123,876,423 $5,123,528 Provisions..
104,122,328 2,507,375 Refined Petroleum ,
44,830,424 2,948, 149 Wood and Lumber..
26,907,161 5,039,886 These figures should be closely studied. It would be difficult to understand, but for the explanations given in the conference, why, out of the three hundred millions of staples exported from this country, only fifteen millions should be consumed in all Latin America with its population of 50,000,000 people, when the United States is the only source of supply for those articles which are regarded by us as the necessaries of life.
The foreign delegates all agreed that this proportion could be increased many fold by extending to their people the ability to purchase; and the ability to purchase rests, in their opinion, upon reciprocal concessions.
Attached hereto is a statement showing the duties charged by the South American countries of the largest commerce upon the articles which they import chiefly from the United States, and also a statement showing the meagre amounts of our peculiar exportable products shipped to the several Latin-American states. By a comparison of these statements the effect of the removal of the duties upon these articles by the countries of Latin America will at once be apparent.
Fifteen of the seventeen republics with which we have been in conference have indicated, by the votes of their representatives in the International American Conference, and by other methods which it is not necessary to define, their desire to enter upon reciprocal commercial relations with the United States; the remaining two express equal willingness, could they be assured that their advances would be favorably considered.
To escape the delay and uncertainty of treaties it has been suggested that a practicable and prompt mode of testing the question was to submit an amendment to the pending tariff bill, authorizing the President to declare the ports of the United States free to all the products of any nation of the American hemisphere upon which no export duties are imposed whenever and so long as such nation shall admit to its ports free of all national, provincial (State), municipal, and other taxes, our flour, corn meal, and other breadstuffs, preserved meats, fish, vegetables, and fruits, cotton-seed oil, rice, and other provisions, including all articles of food, lumber, furniture, and all other articles of wood, agricultural implements and machinery, mining and mechanical machinery, structural steel and iron, steel rails, locomotives, railway cars and supplies, street cars, and refined petroleum. I mention these particular articles because they have been most frequently referred to as those with which a valuable exchange could be readily effected. The list could no doubt be profitably enlarged by a careful investigation of the needs and advantage of both the home and foreign markets.
The opinion was general among the foreign delegates that the legislation herein referred to would lead to the opening of new and profitable markets for the products of which we have so large a surplus, and thus invigorate every branch of agriculture and mechanical industry. Of course, the exchanges involved in these propositions would be rendered impossible if Congress, in its wisdom, should repeal the duty on sugar by direct legislation instead of allowing the same object to be attained by the reciprocal arrangement suggested. Respectfully submitted, JAMES G. BLAINE.
THE SILVER BILL OF 1890.
APPROVED BY PRESIDENT HARRISON, JULY 14, 1890.
“The Secretary of the Treasury is hereby directed to purchase, from time to time, silver bullion to the aggregate amount of 4,500,000 ounces, or so much thereof as may be offered in each month, at the market price thereof, not exceeding $i for 371.25 grains of pure silver, and to issue in paynient for such purchases of silver bullion, Treasury notes of the United States to be prepared by the Secretary of the Treasury in such form and of such denominations, not less than $i nor more than $1,000, as he may prescribe, and a sum sufficient to carry into effect the provisions of this act, is hereby appropriated out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated.
“ SEC. 2. That the Treasury notes issued in accordance with the provisions of this act shall be redeemable on demand, in coin, at the Treasury of the United States or at the office of any assistant treasurer of the United States, and when so redeemed, may be reissued; but no greater or less amount of such notes shall be outstanding at any time than the cost of the silver bullion, and the standard silver dollars coined therefrom, then held in the Treasury purchased by such notes; and such Treasury notes shall be a legal tender in payment of all debts, public and private, except where otherwise expressly stipulated in the contract, and shall be receivable for customs, taxes, and all public dues, and when so received may be reissued; and such notes, when held by any national banking association, may be counted as a part of its lawful reserve. That upon demand of the holder of any of the Treasury notes herein provided for, the Secretary of the Treasury shall, under such regulations as he may prescribe, redeem such notes in gold or silver coin, at his discretion, it being the established policy of the United States to maintain the two metals on a parity with each other upon the present legal ratio, or such ratio as may be provided by law.
“Sec. 3. That the Secretary of the Treasury shall each month coin two million ounces of the silver bullion purchased under the provisions of this act into standard silver dollars until the 1st day of July, 1891, and after that time he shall coin of the silver bullion purchased under the provisions of this act as much as may be necessary to provide for the redemption of the Treasury notes herein provided for, and any gain or seigniorage arising from such coinage shall be accounted for and paid into the Treasury.
“Sec. 4. That the silver bullion purchased under the provisions of this act shall be subject to the requirements of existing law and the regulations of the mint service governing the methods of determining the amount of pure silver contained, and the amount of charges or deductions, if any, to be made.
“SEC. 5. That so much of the act of Feb. 28, 1878, entitled 'An act to authorize the coinage of the standard silver dollar and to restore its legaltender character,' as requires the monthly purchase and coinage of the same into silver dollars of not less than $2,000,000 nor more than $4,000,000 worth of silver bullion, is hereby repealed.
“Sec. 6. That upon the passage of this act the balances standing with the Treasurer of the United States to the respective credits of national banks for