No. 37.
Mr. Partridge to Mr. Fish.

No. 108.]

Sir: I inclose (annex hereto) a copy of the note which I addressed to Viscount de Oaravellas, in relation to the commercial relations between the United States and Brazil, and especially to the very extravagant pauta or custom-house valuation here of articles chiefly (some exclusively) from the United States, and on which exaggerated value their heavy duties are calculated.

I have had several interviews and conversations with the Viscount de Oaravellas, as with his predecessor, on this matter, calling their attention [Page 98] to the great injury thus wrought to our interests. And as a commission is now considering what changes, if any, should be made in the pauta, I thought it a convenient opportunity to again show the injustice of the present list.

The statements in the note are based upon the best authorities attainable, and they will be seen to agree with those contained in my No. 102 to the Department. I have endeavored to show, and I think I have demonstrated, the utility to Brazil of this change, as well as its propriety. I wish that I could add that there was satisfactory reason to believe that such changes will be made as would properly answer the liberality of own tariff toward Brazilian products.

One difficulty lies in the fact that this assembly has just increased the pay of everybody, and nearly doubled their own, so that the expected surplus will be prevented.

* * * * * * *

However, no effort of mine shall be wanting to obtain it.

I am, &c.,


Previous dispatches from this legation relating to the same subject (condition of commerce) Nos. 18, 24, 29, 102.


Mr. Partridge to the Viscount de Caravellas.

The undersigned, envoy, &c., of the United States, has the honor to invite the attention of his excellency the Visconde de Caravellas, minister and secretary of state for foreign affairs, to certain facts, and to considerations growing out of them, in relation, to the condition of trade and commerce between the United States and Brazil. This has been done with a view to the future development of those interests to the advantage of both countries, and for the purpose of offering certain suggestions, founded on those facts, which the undersigned hopes will be favorably received and acted on by the imperial government.

It is known to his excellency the Visconde de Caravellas that, since the 1st of July, 1872, the duty of 3 cents per pound on coffee in the United States has been abolished. The duty, which had only existed since 1861—and which had been reduced in 1866 or 1867 from 5 cents to 3 cents per pound—was imposed by the United States only as a measure of necessity during the war, and the Government embraced the earliest opportunity to abolish it entirely in 1872.

It is hardly necessary for the undersigned to remind the Visconde de Caravellas of the immense advantage accruing to Brazil by reason of this abolition. Of the whole coffee crop of Brazil, nearly one-half—and sometimes three-fifths—is sent to the United States. That country is Brazil’s best customer; and from this empire is exported to the United States nearly as much in value as to all other countries combined. The United States thus takes more than one-third (38 per cent.) of the entire exports from Brazil.

These assertions are sustained by the statistics published by the Relatorios of the ministry of “Fazenda;” by the Associacas Commercial of Rio de Janeiro, (1872;) by the Retrospecto Annual of the Jornal do Commercio, (1872;) by the returns to this legation from the United States consulates in Brazil, and by the official statements of imports into the United States.

From the “Relatorio of Fazenda,” (1872,) it appears that the amount of the whole exportation from Brazil during the year (October) 1870, (September) 1871 was Rs. 168,018:757||000, ($84,000,000.)

To the United States, of this amount, according to the consular returns, was shipped produce to the value of Rs. 62,983:525||740 (over thirty-one millions of dollars) from Brazil.

From the port of Rio de Janeiro alone, during the year January-December, 1871, was shipped to all foreign countries, produce to the value of Rs. 77,043:332|| 316;* of which [Page 99] the amount to the United States alone, and not including the export duty thereon, was Rs. 37,996:634||480, or nearly one-half.

Of the whole export of coffee from Rio de Janeiro for 1872, (2,011,192 bags,) there went to the United States more than one half, (56¼ per cent.,) or 1,130,680 bags.

In 1871, the proportion of coffee to the United States from Rio was nearly 58 per cent. of the whole export, (1,354,346 bags out of 2,358,001.)

In 1870, it was nearly 62½ per cent. (1,373,654 bags out of 2,209,456,) or more than three-fifths of the whole export of coffee from Rio.

Of the whole import of coffee into the United States from all countries, nearly four-fifths (79 per cent.) is furnished by Brazil. Of this, about 2 per cent. is distributed to other countries, (Mexico, &c.,) showing that, of the coffee consumed in the United States, Brazil alone furnishes 77 per cent., or more than three-fourths.

By the abolition of duty on coffee, the United States Treasury gave up a revenue (upon a consumption of over three hundred millions of pounds in 1871) of more than $9,000,000, or nearly eighteen thousand contos of reis, (lis. 18,000:000||000,) of which nearly seven millions of dollars (more than thirteen thousand contos of reis, Rs. 13,600:000||000) was paid in 1871 upon coffee brought from Brazil. The abolition of that duty in the United States inured, to that amount, to the benefit of the fazendeiros of Brazil, producers of coffee; the price of which in Rio, on reception of the news, went up and has not since receded.

On the annual amount and value of coffee thus exported from Brazil to the United States, the imperial and provincial treasuries levy export duties of (9 and 4) 13 per cent. ad valorem. Thus, by the “Relatorio of the Associacão Commercial of Rio de Janeiro for 1872,” it appears that the whole value valor official) of the exports from that port to all foreign countries, from 1st October, 1871, to 1st October, 1872, was Rs. 67,865:172||258. Of this amount Rs. 37,506:695||822 (56 per cent.) went to the United States.

The export duty (9 per cent.) on this whole amount to all countries from Rio received into the imperial treasury was Rs. 5,981:494||046, of which amount Rs. 3,375:602||623 (58 per cent.) was on the coffee sent to the United States. And the provincial treasury received in addition 4 per cent., amounting to Rs. 1,500:267||832.

Thus it is shown that on the exports of coffee from Rio, alone, to the United States in 1871–1872, the export duties paid by the purchaser in the United States before embarking said coffee, and in addition to the price paid to the producer, amounted to four thousand eight hundred and seventy-five contos of reis, (Rs. 4,875:000||000,) nearly two and a half millions of dollars.

On the whole exports from all the ports of Brazil to the United States, and which amount, as stated above, to sixty-two thousand nine hundred and eighty-three contos, five hundred and twenty-five mil, seven hundred and forty reis, (Rs. 62,983:525||740,) ($31,400,000 United Stages,) the imperial treasury levies an export duty of more than five thousand six hundred contos of reis, making in all, with the provincial duty of 4 per cent, an export duty by Brazil on the commerce to the United States, of more than eight thousand one hundred and eighty-seven contos annually, ($4,093,000 United States.)

Such is the value and such the export dues on the exports from Brazil to the United States, of which the value of coffee from Rio (83 per cent.) and from Santos (2 percent.) together constitutes the greater portion, (85 per cent.;) and other articles, as India rubber, nuts, &c., from Para, (6 per cent.;) hides, wool, &c, from Rio Grande do Sul, (5 per cent.;) sugar, &c., Pernambuco, (2 per cent.;) Bahai, Maranham, and all other ports, (2 per cent.)

On all these articles, the produce of Brazil, when they reach the United States, no impost is charged, except a small duty on wool and sugar, (both of which have lately been reduced,) and of which Very small quantities go from Brazil to the United States.

On the other hand, in exchange for this large amount exported from Brazil to the United States, there is imported of the produce and manufactures of the United States into all ports of Brazil from the United States annually to the value of only between twelve and thirteen thousand contos of reis, (between six and six and a half millions of dollars.) The difference between these respective amounts of exports from and imports into Brazil from the United States—about fifty thousand contos of reis— “the balance of trade”— is thus against the United States in the ratio of about 5 to 1, and must be paid to Brazil either in specie, or, as is usually done, by exchange on England.

On these exports (thirteen thousand contos) from the United States to Brazil there is no export duty whatever levied in the United States. But on their arrival in Brazil, the duties imposed in consequence, not so much of heavy rate, but by reason of the exaggerated pauta, or custom-house valuation, is so enormous in comparison with their cost in the United States, that one great cause of the inequality in the commercial movement between the two countries is seen at once. The duty in Brazil by reason of the “pauta” becomes almost prohibitory, or, at least, prevents the importation and consumption, which otherwise would be much greater. This will be clearly perceived [Page 100] from some examples of the “pauta” in Brazil on articles which come exclusively from the United States.

Kerosene.—Kerosene (refined) costs, in cans, in the United States about 444 reis per gallon of 3 kilograms, or per kilogram 148 reis. The pauta (on which the duty of 30 per cent. and 5 per cent. and 28 per cent. is calculated or value assessed in Brazilian custom-house) is per kilogram 400 reis, which is nearly three times its value in the United States. The duty amounts to, per kilogram, 179 reis, which is more than 120 per cent. upon the cost.

Rosin.—A barrel of rosin weighs 140 kilograms, and costs in the United states Rs. 6||000 per barrel, or per kilogram 43 reis. The pauta, per kilogram, is 50 reis. The duty amounts to about 23 reis, or about 50 per cent. on its cost.

Lard.—Lard costs in the United States 9 cents per pound, or per kilogram 380 reis. The pauta here is per kilogram 400 reis. The duty amounts to 180 reis, or 47 per cent. upon its cost.

Pitch-pine deals and lumber cost in the United States $18 per 1,000 feet, or per square metre (1,073 square feet) 370 reis, duty on each square metre is 150 reis or 40 per cent. ad valorem.

Flour.—This article makes up the largest amount in value of the imports from the United States into Brazil. The pauta and the duty are not excessive, not exceeding 9 per cent. on the present high cost in the United States.

The whole value or first cost of the above articles, with all others from the United States, amounts to probably between twelve and thirteen thousand contos of reis, (Rs. 12,000,000: $000, or 13,000:000||000,) and, from the examples given above, it is evident that this amount is so small, in comparison with the amount exported from Brazil to the United States, principally because the duties, levied thereon in Brazil, are so high as to prevent their more general use and consumption. These duties add so much to the price, to the consumer, that the quantities demanded are small; and these would he much greater, and a larger amount of cheap comforts be afforded to the population, on a lower duty, or, even with the present rate of duty, on a pauta more in accordance with the cost of the articles.

Nor should it be feared that the imperial treasury would lose in receipts, even on these articles, by such lowering of the pauta. The larger consumption would far more than compensate, by a far greater importation, the result of the higher tax on the quantities at present taken. This may be safely predicted of all imports, and especially with regard to kerosene. This article affords the cheapest light now known; and its use becoming more general every day, and especially in the interior provinces, with the extension of railroads and means of intercommunication, there would be a very far greater importation and a very much greater receipt in duties in consequence.

The favorable condition of the imperial treasury and of the finances of Brazil at this time, invite, as well as permit, the lowering of the pauta on those articles whose inflated value has hitherto prevented a larger receipt.

The great rise in the price of Brazil’s chief product, which has enriched the country and given such favorable results to the empire, easily enable consumers to take larger quantities of imports, and especially of those comforts which would then he cheap, and of which some of the most essential come from the United States.

Of the enormous advantage to both countries, and to their commerce, in case the imperial government could take this step, the undersigned thinks there is no necessity to speak.

While the imperial government is considering the report of the commission to which was referred the matter of making the pauta conform more nearly to the Cost of the articles therein valued, and while the results are still to be determined, it has seemed to the undersigned a proper opportunity again, and in written form, to bring these facts and demonstrations to the notice of his excellency the minister of foreign affairs, and to respectfully urge their consideration.

Such action by the imperal government, securing an adjustment of the pauta in conformity with real value, would be a proof that Brazil appreciated and desired to respond to the liberality already shown by the United States toward Brazilian products.

It is only proper and right that between the two chief powers on the American continent such correspondent action and reciprocity should exist; and these are called for not less by an enlightened self-interest than by the principles of true political economy.

The undersigned, &c.,

  1. Retrospecto do Jornal do Commercio, 1872.