No. 35.
Mr. Partridge to Mr. Fish.

No. 102.]

Sir: Of the whole amounts of receipts into, the Brazilian treasury, about forty-nine millions of dollars, (97,000 contos of reis,* ) about 15,000 contos of reis (seven and a half millions of dollars) are derived from an export duty on all articles and produce shipped from the empire. This duty is assessed at 9 per cent. on their custom-house valuation, and, with the provincial export tax, 4 per cent., added, amounts to 13 per cent.

Inasmuch as the exports from Brazil to the United States (coffee, sugar, rubber, rosewood, hides, &c.) amount to between thirty-one and thirty-two millions of dollars annually, it follows that of this amount, (the export duty being included in the cost on board,) about $3,536,000 are paid for imperial and provincial export dues, of which $2,448,000 (or about 32 per cent. of the whole) is imperial export duty, levied by Brazil, and arises from exports to the United States alone.

The receipts from duties on imports are estimated in the budget at about 54,000 contos of reis, or about twenty-seven millions of dollars.

Brazil takes from us annually only between six and seven million dollars in value. It is not so easy to calculate what proportion of their receipts from import duty is received from such importations, (from the United States.) But the import dues on certain articles, winch come exclusively from the United States, are (by reason of the exaggerated panta or custom-house valuation) enormous, as the following examples will show:

Kerosene costs per gallon in the United States from 19 to 24 cents. The duty here on kerosene amounts to Rs 5||080 ($2.70) per box of 10 gallons, or 27 cents per gallon, which is 130 per cent. on its present cost in the United States.

[Page 96]

Rosin costs in the United States about $3.50 to $3.70 per barrel. The duty in Brazil on rosin is about $1.50 per barrel, or 44 per cent.

Pitch in the United States costs about $4.50 per barrel. The duty in Brazil is about $1.85, or nearly 41 per cent. Lard costs in the United States about 9 to 10 cents. The duty in Brazil is 80 reis per pound, 4⅓ cents, or 45 per cent. The duty in Brazil on spirits of turpentine is Rs 2||490 per box of 10 gallons, or about 40 per cent. of first cost.

The duty on flour is about 68 cents per barrel, costing about $8, or only about 8½ per cent. on cost.

Perhaps it would not be an exaggeration to say that on these six or seven millions Brazil levies two millions of dollars duties.

On the other hand, the United States admit free of all duty almost all articles (coffee, rubber, hides, &c.) to the amount of thirty millions of dollars, brought from Brazil, and, with the exception of sugar, of which we receive, perhaps, one million in value, and of wool, of which a small amount comes occasionally from Rio Grande do Sul.

These facts seem to make out a strong argument for the reduction, at least, of these enormous duties exacted by Brazil on our commerce; and I have not failed to present them to the Viscount de Oaravellas, in the hope that he may give them the proper direction and effect in the amended tariff to be proposed to the chambers. These facts also show, I think, that we acted with undue liberality, and perhaps too precipitately, in taking off the moderate duty of 3 cents a pound on coffee, or $4.80 a bag, and of which we receive nearly a million and a half bags from Brazil, thus giving up over seven millions of revenue, the benefit of which surrender accrued directly to the producers of coffee, which, instantly on the receipt of that news, went up to that extent nearly in price, and has not since receded.

Of the carrying trade between the United States and Brazil we at present, unfortunately, have only about 33 per cent., or one-third in American vessels, as explained in my No. 18, but Brazil has no share in this.

I am, &c.,

  1. For 1873–’74 estimated receipts fifty millions, of which nine and a half from export duties.
  2. In cans and boxed for exportation.