No. 137.
Mr. Angell to Mr. Evarts .

No. 52.]

Sir: Among the subjects which have long engaged the attention of the diplomatic body at Peking is that of “transit trade outwards.” It was considered at the conferences which were held here last spring.

My predecessor inclosed with his No. 673 of May. 1, 1880, a memorandum and a draft of rules submitted to the diplomatic corps by Mr. von Brandt, the German minister. The rules, after some revision, were placed before the Tsung-li Yamen for consideration.

On the 27th of September the Yamen sent to Mr. von Brandt a paper setting forth certain alterations which they suggested in the provisional rules recommended by the diplomatic corps. A copy of this paper is herewith inclosed.

Mr. von Brandt submitted this communication of the Yamen, with a memorandum upon it, to the ministers at a conference held here on October 25. In the discussion which followed most of the positions taken up by Mr. von Brandt in his memorandum were approved, but some changes were made in certain amendments which he proposed to make in the rules. I have thought I could best describe the details of the action of the conference by annotations on the margin of the memorandum, which is inclosed.

On the 19th instant the Yamen, in an interview with Mr. von Brandt, announced that the opposition of the provincial authorities to Rule II and Rule III, 1 and 2, was so strong that they could not see their way clear to assent to them. But they asked him to give them in writing his reasons for urging those rules.

At a conference held on the 22d instant Mr. von Brandt read to the diplomatic body a draft of the reasons which he proposed to send to the foreign office for desiring the two rules as well as the others.

The ministers, without formally adopting the whole paper, authorized him to close with the statement that his colleagues could not comprehend why Rules II and III should be unacceptable to them. Mr. von Brandt stated to his colleagues that, in the interview with the foreign office he received the impression that they were not willing to agree finally to the rules, but that they wished to be provided with reasons to press upon the reluctant provincial officers. He will present his communication to them at an early day.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure No. 1 in No. 52.]

Alterations proposed by the Tsung-li Yamen in the provincial rules.


  • Rule I. These rules come into force on the — day, — moon of the sixth year, Kuang-Hsü. All outward transit passes issued before this time shall, after the expiration of one year, if the merchant has not, (within that time), reported for examination to the customs authorities, by whom the passes were issued, the native produce stated [Page 208] in the pass as to be bought and the corresponding transit certificate be forthwith canceled by the superintendent of customs and the corresponding transit certificates be recalled; and all goods which the holders of such canceled passes may attempt to bring down under them will be confiscated. All transit passes issued subsequently to the — day, — moon of the sixth year of Kuang-Hsü, i. e., the time when these rules come into force, and not used within one year from the date of issue, will be canceled at the expiration of such year.
  • Rule 2. [Addition to.] No further passes will be issued to a merchant whose passes had to be canceled, their time having expired, and who acts in opposition to this rule and does not surrender his pass.
  • Rule 3. [Addition to.] In all cases in which goods are to be confiscated, and there are no goods which might be surrendered, the value of the goods stated in the pass is to be paid by the merchant for confiscation.
  • Rule 5. [The following sentence is omitted:] Except goods for the northern ports for which the customs authorities will grant the necessary extension of time.
  • Rule 8. [Addition to.] At the time when transferring such goods the merchant shall report the nationality and the name of the merchant to whom the goods are transferred to the consul, by whom they will be communicated to the superintendent of customs, to be placed on record in order that the merchant may not throw off any responsibility afterwards.
  • Rule 9 is omitted.


With regard to the proposed rule for duty-free native produce, we find that such are not mentioned in the treaties, and have therefore expunged this rule.


Rule 2. Native produce, bought in the interior or at the port, has, before goods are manufactured from it, to be first reported to the customs authorities for examination. When exported, such manufactured goods shall pay the export duty according to their present form. If carried coastwise, they will be treated like native goods.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 52.]

Memorandum on alterations proposed by the Tsung-li Yamên or Mr. Von Brandt on the provisional rules for transit passes outward.

Rule I, 1.

Mr. von Brandt’s suggestion approved, and Rule I, 1, as altered, accepted. There seems to be no objection to the alteration of Rule I, 1, as proposed by the Yamên, the rule being in fact little more than a paraphrase of the one originally proposed by the foreign representatives.

Rule I, 2.

The addition to Rule I, 2, approved. The addition to Rule I, 2, proposed by the Yamên, does also seem acceptable; it has been indeed already accepted by the German Empire for transit passes inwards in § 7, of the supplementary rules to the additional convention of March 31, 1880; a similar rule being contained in Rule IV of the supplementary rules to the British supplementary convention of October 24, 1869.

Rule I, 3.

The addition to Rule I, 3, accepted.
There seems to be no objection against the principle announced in the addition to Rule I, 3, proposed by the Yamên, that in the absence of goods subject to confiscation, their value as given in the transit certificate should be paid as a fine by the merchant guilty of a transgression of the rules.

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Rule I, 5.

The Yamên’s proposal rejected and Mr. von Brandt’s exception insisted upon. The proposal of the Yamên to expunge from the rules the exception in favor of goods for the northern ports seems unacceptable in view of the fact that it may be impossible to transship the goods within the time specified. The rule ought therefore to be maintained or rather extended, so as to give power to the customs on application to grant an extension of the time for reshipment in every case where it is proved to their satisfaction that shipment within the prescribed time will be impossible.

Rule I, 8.

The Yamên’s proposal accepted, but the phraseology to be made clearer. There seems to be no objection to the proposal of the Yamên that the name of the merchant, to whom the goods are transferred, should be communicated to the consul and through him to the superintendent of customs.

Rule I, 9.

The Yamên’s proposal rejected. Joint jurisdiction to be insisted on. The proposal of the Yamên to omit Rule I, 9, is unacceptable; the joint jurisdiction in all cases of fines or confiscation being the necessary corollary to the concessions made by the foreign representatives in the proposed regulations. There seems farther to be no reasonable ground why the procedure agreed upon in 1868, and accepted by the Chinese Government as well as the governments of the treaty powers, with regard to confiscations and fines, which was inserted also in the British supplementary convention of 1869, Article IX, should not be put in force also with regard to the rules now under consideration.

Rule II.

The rule expunged must remain. The assertion of the Yamên that no duty-free native produce exists, has no foundation, whatever, as can be seen by the British treaty of 1858 rules, Rule II, where it is expressly stated that the above-mentioned articles pay no import or export duty. The rule expunged by the Yamên will therefore have to be reinserted.

Rule III, 2.

The Yamên’s alteration rejected. The alteration proposed by the Yamên seems neither practical nor practicable and ought to be rejected.

In addition to the alterations proposed by the Yamên some other alterations and additions might be introduced with advantage into the proposed rules, the acceptance of some of the proposals made by the Yamên giving sufficient cause to the foreign negotiator to make some new proposals also on his part.

Rule I, 4.

Add to: At the arrival of the produce at the barrier nearest the port or where there is no further barrier * between the one at which the transit certificate was issued and the port at the custom-house.

This addition seems desirable, especially with reference to Hoichow and Pakhoi, in order to avoid the necessity of produce bought at the mainland having to pass through Hainan.

As a further addition to this rule the following might be proposed:

The proposed addition approved. In case of alleged damage or deterioration of goods en route, the customs on the application of the merchant will inspect the goods, and if the damage, etc., be proved, grant a proportionate diminution of the transit dues.

This form of amendment rejected. The same object might, perhaps, be obtained by inserting in Rule I, 7, after “while at the ports,” “or en route” and after, “a reduction in the amount of export duty” “or transit dues.”

The Chinese translation of Rules II and III, 1 and 2, having seemed, on further consideration, to be liable to misconstruction on the part of the Chinese authorities it is proposed to adopt in their place the annexed Chinese version of which the following is the exact English translation:

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Rule II.

The passage in brackets amended thus: “When relanded it is exempt, according to rule, from tariff import duty, but has to pay a coast trade duty.” Whenever any native produce declared to be exempt from tariff import and export duties by Rule 2, is shipped, it is to be shipped accordingly exempt from tariff export duty; [but when relanded it is to pay a coast trade duty while exempt according to rule from tariff import duty.] As for this coast trade duty, its amount is declared to be 2½ per cent. ad valorem.

Rule III, 1.

This to be substituted for the original. Native merchandise bought at the port is to pay tariff export duty when shipped, but is not to be called on to pay any other duty or tax, whatsoever. With the sole exception of native merchandise, brought from the interior under treaty transit passes, all native merchandise to be shipped is to be considered as bought at a port and treated accordingly.

Rule III, 2.

Strike out the first word “native.” Native goods manufactured at a port from native produce, whether arrived there under transit passes from the interior or procured otherwise, pay tariff export duty on shipment, but are not called on to pay any other duty or tax whatsoever.

  1. Insert after the word “barrier” the words, “on the shortest and most direct line.”