No. 353.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Evarts.

No. 962.]

Sir:—The Mexican foreign office has sent me a printed copy of the balanza general de la exportacion, just issued by the finance “department, showing the exportation of Mexican products for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878, giving in detail the articles exported from the different parts of the republic. I accompany this dispatch with the publication, from which it will be seen that the total exports from Mexican ports for the year amount to $28,777,508.

From the general statement I have prepared the following table, embracing all articles whose total exportation exceed $100,000, as follows:

Mexican exports for year ending June 30, 1878:

Coffee $1,275,058
Fiber, (henequen, istla, &c.) 1,259,233
Gold 1,265,199
Silver, coined and bullion 20,493,129
Ores, unreduced 267,311
Hides 578,822
Skins, goat, &c. 461,156
Orchilla 234,312
Sugar 276,479
Vanilla 346,133
Mahogany 379,365
Cedar 357,340
Campeche, &c. 174,893
Moral 549,654
All other articles 859,424
Total exports 28,777,508

A few interesting facts may be noted in the publication and the above table. It will be seen that of the $28,777,508 of total exports, $22,000,000 are of precious metals, or 77 per cent, of the total. It is a bad indication of the state of prosperity of the country that, notwithstanding its great agricultural fertility and its capacity for tropical products, excluding gold and silver, its total exports do not reach $7,000,000. It is our nearest tropical neighbor, and has the natural capacity to supply the United States with all the sugar, coffee, and tropical fruits we consume, yet its exportation of these articles makes a most beggarly exhibit.

The following table shows the amount of sugar, coffee, and tropical fruits imported and consumed in the United States in 1878, and the amount of these articles exported from Mexico:

Consumed in United States. Exported by Mexico.
Sugar $81,000,000 $276,479
Coffee 52,000,000 1,275,058
Tropical fruits 10,000,000 27,514

[Page 809]

In previous dispatches I have referred to the unwise policy which has been pursued for many years by the governments of Mexico of levying an export tax upon its native products shipped abroad.

By reference to this published statement of the finance department, it will be seen that on four of the leading articles of exportation an export duty is charged, to wit, on silver, gold, precious woods, and orchilla, and that their total exportation amounts to $22,583,264, or say 80 per cent, of the entire exports of the country. The more liberal of the public men have long advocated the abolition of this export duty, but the present Congress, now in session, has just rejected a bill to repeal the duty on silver, so that it would seem the old system of repression of foreign trade is to be persisted in.

An extensive foreign trade cannot be maintained without a large exportation of native products, and the latter this country does not at present possess, as its per capita exportation is lower than almost all the other Spanish American countries; nor can a large increase be anticipated so long as it persists in the policy of exacting a tax upon 80 per cent, of its exportations, nor until its tropical agricultural productions can be much more largely developed than at present, not to speak of the prime conditions requisite for foreign commerce in all countries, the maintenance of peace and security to property.

I am, &c.,