No. 295.
Mr. Jackson to Mr. Bayard.

No. 117.]

Sir: In accordance with the instruction contained in your No. 87, of November 13, I have addressed a note to Mr. Mariscal directing his attention to the prohibitory character of the import duties placed by the existing tariff laws of Mexico upon certain food products of the United States, and suggesting such modifications as will rather invite than exclude them. I have the honor to inclose a copy of my note.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 117.]

Mr. Jackson to Mr. Mariscal.

Sir: I am instructed by my Government to bring to the special attention of your excellency the fact that the rates of duty fixed by the existing tariff laws of Mexico upon certain food products of the United States are such as to prohibit their importation. For example: The duty on lard is 20 cents per kilogram, or 9⅛ cents per pound; on smoked or salted meats, it is 25 cents per kilogram, or 11⅜ cents per pound; and on canned meats it is 80 cents per kilogram, or 36⅜ cents per pound; all net weight.

If the price of lard be taken at 6 cents per pound net, and the freight, which is about 4¼ cents per pound, be added, it will be seen that the duty, 9⅛ cents, is almost as much as the cost of the lard and the freight together.

[Page 568]

On canned meats the result is yet more noticeable. One case containing twelve 2-pound cans of corned beef will net 24 pounds of beef, costing say about $2.50. The freight to the city of Mexico is about $1.50 per case, while the duty, at 36⅜ cents per pound, is $8.73, making one case of 2-pound corn beef, laid down in the city of Mexico, cost $12.73, of which the duty is $8.73.

It thus becomes clear that the Mexican tariff, as it now exists, practically excludes these staples of necessity from the markets of the country; and inasmuch as none of them are produced in any of the States of Mexico, it would seem to be equally clear that while benefiting no one, these prohibitory duties must operate to the prejudice of the people of Mexico, in depriving them of cheap and wholesome articles of food. There is scarcely room for doubt that if the tariff were so modified as to invite rather than to exclude these products of the United States, a trade would spring up in them largely augmenting the revenue of Mexico and promoting the true interests of both nations. Will your excellency permit me, on the part of my own Government, most respectfully to urge that consideration be given to this important subject, to the end of ascertaining whether the modifications in the existing tariff laws, which I have been instructed to suggest, may not be properly and judiciously made?

I avail myself, &c.,