No. 55.
Mr. Denby to Mr. Bayard.

No. 137.]

Sir: I have the honor to forward you herewith a translation of the Chinese text of the commercial convention recently concluded between France and China.

The endless formalities and restrictions which this convention throws in the way of trade between Annam and China must crush any commerce which may spring up between the two countries.

With the exception of the neutral zone, which is not mentioned in this convention, it is substantially the same as that which was negotiated by Mr. Bourée in 1882, and which the French Government would not ratify.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 137.—Translation.]

draft of trade regulations for the anam frontier jointly determined on by china and france.

Whereas, in the sixth article of the treaty drawn up by the Government of China and the French Republic, upon the 27th day of the fourth moon of the eleventh year of Kuangshii, corresponding to the 9th day of June, 1885, by western reckoning, it is stated that “Regulations for the conduct of overland trade between Tongking and the Chinese provinces of Yun-Nan, Kuang-Si, and Kuahg-Tung will be jointly discussed and concluded by commissioners appointed by the two powers, and will form a supplement to the present treaty”; and whereas in the tenth article of that treaty it is stated that “The provisions of former treaties and regulations agreed to by China and France, except in so far as they are modified by the present agreement, will continue to retain their original validity,” the plenipotentiaries of His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of China and the President of the French Republic, that is to say, the plenipotentiary of His Majesty the Emperor of China, Li, grand tutor of the heir apparent, grand secretary of the Wen-hua Throne Hall, minister superintendant of trade for the northern seaboard, joint commissioner of admiralty, governor-general of Chihli, and a member of the first rank of the third grade of hereditary nobility with the laudatory appellation Su-i; and the plenipotentiary of the President of the French Republic, Cogordan, minister plenipotentiary to China, decorated with the cross of the Legion of Honor of the fourth class, and the star of the second class of the order of the Crown of Italy, and bearing the rank of under secretary of state for foreign affairs, together with Bruwaert, consul of the first class, assistant commissioner for treaty negotiations, decorated with the order of Gustav of Sweden of the third class, and the order of Leopold of Belgium of the fifth class, after having communicated to each other their respective full powers, and found them to be in due form, have accordingly concluded the following articles:

Article I.

It is arranged between the two Governments that whereas in conformity with the provisions of Article V of the new treaty, two places should now be indicated, one some point above Pao Shêng (Laokai), the other some point to the north of Langson, at which the Chinese Government shall establish customs for purposes of trade, and shall consent to the (immediate) appointment of consuls by the French Government at those places, and these French consuls shall enjoy the same privileges and advantages of the most favored nation. Inasmuch as at the present date of signature the boundary commissioners of the two Governments have not yet determined at what point north of Langson a trading center should be opened, it shall be incumbent on the Chinese Government to select such place in consultation with the French representative in China within the present year. As regards the place to the north of Laokai to be opened to foreign trade, this shall also be fixed upon in consultation when the frontier of the two countries shall have been inspected and determined.

[Page 86]

Article II.

The Chinese Government is at liberty to establish consuls at Hanoi and Haiphong, and shall hereafter consider with the Government of France the appointment of consuls to reside at the large cities or towns in other parts of Tongking. The treatment accorded by France to such consuls and the privileges and advantages enjoyed by them shall be similar in every respect to the treatment and privileges accorded by France to the consuls of the most favored nations. They shall transact their official business with the high officer (or officers) appointed by the French Government as “protector” (or protectors).

Article III.

Both Governments undertake that upon the arrival of a consul appointed by either power to take up his official residence, assistance shall be rendered by the local authorities of either Government in the establishment or preservation of the public offices in which he shall reside.

When French merchants or citizens visit the places open to trade on the Chinese frontier, the action taken shall be in all cases that laid down in the seventh, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth articles of the treaty between France and China dated the 27th day of June, 1858.

When Annamese subjects visit the places open to trade on the Chinese frontier, the same treatment shall be accorded them by the Chinese Government.

Article IV.

Chinese subjects shall be permitted to purchase land, rent houses, or establish places of business or warehouses in any part of Annam, and shall receive full protection for their persons and property. They shall on no account be treated with harshness or tyranny, nor shall any restraint be put upon them; there shall be no difference whatever between the treatment accorded to them and that enjoyed by the subjects of the most favored Western nation. The official or private correspondence and telegrams of Chinese officials and merchants dispatched or received through the French postal or telegraph offices shall be sent and delivered in the same manner as other correspondence and shall not be subjected to any hindrance. The treatment of French citizens by the Chinese Government shall be equally liberal in this respect.

Article V.

In the event of French citizens or persons under French protection, as well as the subjects or citizens of other nationalities residing in Tongking, wishing to cross the frontier into Chinese territory, the French authorities shall satisfy themselves of the respectability of such persons and shall then apply to the Chinese frontier officials to issue a passport. When furnished with such passport they shall be allowed to proceed, but it must be surrendered for cancellation upon their return. In every instance in which the holder of a passport is compelled to pass through the territory of tribal chieftains or aborigines, the fact must first be recorded on his passport that, as there are no Chinese officials in the places in question, protection cannot be afforded.

In the event of Chinese subjects in China wishing to proceed by land from China to Annam, the Chinese officials shall satisfy themselves of the respectability of such persons, and shall apply to the French officials for the issue of a passport, the action taken being in every respect similar to that required in the case of the French subjects entering Chinese territory. The passports issued by either party shall be used simply for purposes of travel, and shall not be allowed to be employed as a voucher for the purchase or sale of commodities and exemption from duty thereon.

In all cases of persons crossing the frontier without being furnished with a passport, the Chinese local authorities shall, in the case of China, be at liberty to detain such persons, and, in the case of Tongking, the French authorities shall be allowed to do likewise, respectively handing him over to the authorities of his own nationality, who shall deal with him as they may consider necessary under the circumstances.

In the event of Chinese subjects who are temporarily residents in Annam, returning from Tongking to China, all that will be required is a certificate from the Chinese authorities permitting them to cross the frontier.

French citizens and others at the places on the frontier open to trade will not be required to apply for a passport when traveling in localities less than fifty li distant from such places.

Article VI.

All imports conveyed by French merchants and citizens, or persons under the protection of France, to the places upon the frontier open to trade which shall already have paid the import duty, may forthwith be taken into Chinese territory for sale, in accordance [Page 87] with Article VII of the rules appended to the tariff and the general rules in force at the various maritime customs for the conveyance of foreign goods, into the interior under transit pass.

Upon the arrival of foreign goods of any description at the custom-houses at the two places, to he hereafter determined, on the Yun-Nan and Kuang-Si frontiers, a report shall be furnished containing a description of the goods, with specifications of their number, and the name of the importer, whereupon an agent of the customs shall be sent to inspect the goods, which, upon verification of the description given, shall pay a regular duty equal to one-fifth less than that laid down in the Chinese maritime tariff. In case of goods not enumerated in this tariff, regular duty shall be levied at the rate of 5 per centum ad valorem, but the regular duty must be paid in full before the goods can be removed from the places where they are stored, transferred to other conveyances, or sold. Should the merchant concerned wish to convey the goods into the interior he must once more report them at the customs, and must pay the half inland duty as prscribed in the maritime customs tariff, nor can the levy of such half duty be calculated as one-half the regular duty, minus 20 per cent.

After this half duty has been paid, the customs will issue a duty certificate entitling the holder to take the goods to the place indicated thereon for sale. No further levy of duty will be made at any customs stations or barrier the goods may encounter, but any goods conveyed into the interior which are unaccompanied by such certificates, will pay duty and likin at any customs station or barrier they may come to, in accordance with the rules governing local produce.

Article VII.

All French merchants or citizens, or persons under the protection of France, proceeding to any places in Chinese territory and purchasing local products which are conveyed to the places open to trade on the frontier for export therefrom into Tongking shall be allowed to do so under the conditions laid down in Article VII of the rules appended to the tariff with regard to the conveyance of native produce for export.

Native produce of any description conveyed from the provinces of Yun-Nan and Kuang-Si to the places open to foreign trade to be hereafter determined, shall upon arrival at the customs at these places be reported thereat, the report containing a description of the goods, with their numbers and the name of the person conveying the goods. An agent of the customs shall thereupon be sent to inspect the goods and verify the description. In the case of the merchant in question having previously taken out “triplicate pass” with which he has gone himself into the interior to purchase goods upon which he has not paid the inland duties or likin, he will be required, in conformity with the Chinese maritime tariff, first, to pay the half duty, and then to pay a regular duty equivalent to two-thirds of that prescribed by the Chinese maritime tariff. In the case of articles unenumerated in the tariff, a regular duty will be paid on the basis of 5per centum ad valorem. This regular duty paid, the goods may be warehoused and transferred to other conveyances for transport and sale beyond the barrier.

Should the merchant in question enter Chinese territory and buy native produce without having taken out a “triplicate pass,” the proper duty or likin thereon will have to be paid at all customs stations or likin barriers which the goods may pass, the stations or barriers issuing certificates as vouchers for these payments. On arrival at the frontier customs the goods will be exempt from half duty upon production of these certificates from the inland stations and barriers.

All carts and animals belonging to French citizens or others which pass the frontier customs stations of Yun-Nan and Kuang-Si inwards or outwards, as well as the carts or animals conveying the goods of Chinese subjects either into or out of Tongking shall one and all be exempt from taxation. The boats of either country passing the frontier station by water-ways accessible to boats may be called upon to pay tonnage dues in accordance with the rules prevailing at the various maritime customs [of China].

It is agreed by both Governments, with reference to the foregoing Articles VI and VII, that in the event hereafter of any other power arranging a separate frontier trade tariff for the land routes on the southwest of China with the Chinese Government, the French Government can likewise claim similar advantages.

Article VIII.

Foreign goods upon arrival at one of the frontier customs-houses, which shall have already paid the regular import duty, and shall in consequence of not being sold be conveyed to the other frontier customs-house, may, within the space of thirty-six months, if, on inspection, the original goods have not been opened or changed, receive an exemption certificate for the regular duty from the first customs-house, which shall be [Page 88] allowed to be tendered at the second customs-house in satisfaction of the duty leviable thereat, or a drawback certificate may be given which will be available for payment of duties at the customs-house by which it is issued any time in three years, but in no case will ready money be returned.

Should such foreign goods be taken from thence to a Chinese treaty port, the usual regular maritime import duty on such foreign goods will be levied, and with a view to the avoidance of confusion neither this frontier customs drawback or exemption certificate, nor the frontier customs duty receipt will be allowed to be tendered in lieu thereof. No drawback certificate will be given for goods upon which the half-inland duty has already been paid in accordance with the rule prevailing at all the ports.

Article IX.

Native produce which has already paid the half and regular export duty at one frontier customs-house, and shall be taken to the other frontier customs for sale, shall only pay a second import duty amounting to half the regular duty already paid, but in conformity with the established rules prevailing at all the ports it shall not be conveyed into the interior by foreign merchants for sale. Such native produce upon importation into any maritime treaty port for sale, shall in every instance be dealt with in accordance with the tariff on foreign imports, and another regular duty be levied thereon. If it be conveyed into the interior it will still have to pay the inland duty.

In the case of native produce exported from a Chinese port into a port of Annam, and from thence again taken to the Chinese frontier, it will, upon arrival, have to pay a regular duty in like manner with foreign goods and inland duty again upon entering the interior.

Article X.

Upon the arrival of goods, whether exports or imports, at the frontier customs application must be made for the inspection thereof within a period of thirty-six hours. Should the goods not have been reported within this limit a fine of taels 50 shall be levied for every day’s delay, but such fines shall not exceed taels 200 in the aggregate.

Should accurate proof be obtained of an intent being present to defraud when passing the goods over the frontier by reporting less than there actually are for duty, with the object of securing a reduction on the amount levied, the whole of the goods shall be confiscated. All goods which, unaccompanied by a permit from the superintendent of customs, are clandestinely conveyed across the frontier or discharged or sent round by circuitous routes or broken up into parcels for sale or attempted to be smuggled in any other way, shall be liable to confiscation.

Any merchant applying at the customs for a transit pass who shall, with intent to defraud, furnish a false statement of the description or number of his goods, or whose declaration of the place of origin and destination shows discrepancies, shall have all such goods confiscated. As regards the manner of investigating such cases the course of action to be pursued shall be that laid down in the regulations bearing date the 29th day of May, 1868.

In the case of goods condemned to confiscation should the merchant wish to pay the value thereof to the authorities he will be permitted to do so at a valuation arrived at with the Chinese authorities.

The Chinese authorities shall be at liberty to adopt the means that they may judge most proper for the prevention of smuggling along the Chinese frontier.

Chinese, French, and Annamese boats or junks plying on the water-ways shall not be required to discharge their cargoes ashore upon passing the barriers of either power if the pass and cargo correspond and there are no other irregularities. The customs will only send an agent on board to inspect the goods.

Article XI.

Chinese produce entering Tongking from the land side shall pay import duty in accordance with the French customs tariff, but all such produce intended for export shall be exempt from duty.

Should the French Government hereafter frame a new customs tariff or rules for Tongking these shall be duly communicated to the Chinese Government, and if in time to come special duties shall be fixed in Tongking upon certain classes of local products worked up into manufactures or upon “certified” gold or silver, Chinese articles of the same description shall be similarly taxed upon importation into Tongking.

Article XII.

All native produce passing through Tongking in process of conveyance from one Chinese frontier customs to the other, and all native produce sent back to China from [Page 89] either frontier customs by way of any sea-port in Annam, shall pay the transit duty for Tongking laid down in the French tariff, but such transit duty shall not exceed 2 per centum ad valorem.

The above produce shall, after leaving Chinese territory, be inspected by the French customs, who will issue a certificate which shall contain a specification of the goods, and of the number and destination thereof. The holder of this certificate shall produce it at the demand of any French official en route and also on arrival at the maritime port, with a view to the prevention of smuggling; all such produce shall pay the regular import duty in advance upon entry into Tongking. A receipt for this duty will be issued by the French customs, which will be presented for inspection on the arrival of the goods at the sea-port or frontier customs, as the case may be. The French customs will then deduct the transit duty from the regular import duty and return the balance to the holder of the receipt, who will thereupon surrender his receipt for cancellation.

Inasmuch as the arrangement for the transit of this native produce across Tongking is a novel one, should proof positive be discovered that the merchant concerned has, with intent to defraud, made a false declaration of the description and number of his goods, or should the place of origin and destination be found not to correspond with the particulars given, the whole of such goods shall be confiscated. Should the merchant wish to pay to the authorities the money value of goods condemned to confiscation he is at liberty to do so at a valuation arrived at with the French authorities.

The arrangement specified above for taxation in transitu shall be applied to all Chinese produce in transitu through Annam that is exported through any maritime customs establishment to a sea-port in Annam and thence conveyed through Tongking to the Chinese frontier customs.

Article XIII.

The following articles shall be granted a duty-exemption certificate by the Chinese frontier customs on either importation or exportation, provided that they are found after inspection to be of bona fide foreign origin, are for the personal use of foreigners, and are in reasonable quantities: Gold and silver bullion, foreign coins, flour, Indian meal, sago, biscuits, preserved meats and vegetables, cheese, butter, confectionery, foreign clothing, jewelry, plated ware, perfumery, soap of all kinds, charcoal, firewood, candles (foreign), tobacco, cigars, foreign wine (beer, spirits), household stores, ships’ stores, personal baggage, stationery, carpeting, druggeting, cutlery, foreign medicines, and glass, and crystal ware.

But if such articles are not reported for inspection, or if they are clandestinely conveyed elsewhere, the same penalties will be enforced as those provided in the case of foreign merchandise.

If imported into the interior, with the exception of gold and silver bullion, foreign coins, and personal baggage, they will, in spite of the fact that they are for the personal use of foreigners, and insignificant in quantity, pay an inland duty at the rate of 2½ per cent, ad valorem.

Chinese subjects passing the Tongking frontier customs outwards or inwards will not be required to pay duty at the French customs upon any money, personal baggage, clothes, jewelry, pens, ink, and stationery, books, personal appliances, or articles of food they may have with them.

All articles imported by Chinese consuls for their personal use will similarly be free from duty.

Article XIV.

Both Governments engage that neither foreign nor native opium shall be allowed to be conveyed overland across the frontiers of Tongking and Yun-Nan, Kuang-Tung, and Kuang-Si for purchase or sale.

Article XV.

The export of rice or other grain across the Chinese frontier is prohibited, but if imported through the Chinese frontier customs it will be exempt from duty.

The import of gunpowder, shot, fire-arms, cannon, saltpeter, sulphur, and spelter, together with all munitions of war, salt, or any articles destructive of morality, is forbidden under penalty of entire confiscation.

Munitions of war procured by Chinese officials or by merchants who have received special written authority to purchase such must be inspected and duly verified at the customs before they can be allowed to pass.

The Chinese high authorities will be at liberty hereafter, after consultation with the French consuls, to pass arms and munitions of war through Tongking across the frontier, and under these conditions they shall be entirely exempt from duty at the French customs.

[Page 90]

Similarly the import is prohibited into Tongking of all arms and munitions of war, together with any articles destructive of public morality.

Article XVI.

Chinese merchants and subjects temporarily residing in Annam, who may be concerned in cases of homicide, revenue cases, or litigation generally, shall receive the same treatment as that accorded by France to the merchants and subjects of the most favored nation.

Disputes between Chinese subjects and French citizens or Annamese residing at the places on the frontier open to trade shall be jointly tried by Chinese and French officials.

Offenses, whether serious or trifling, committed by French citizens or persons under French protection at the places open to trade shall be dealt with in the manner laid down in articles 38 and 39 of the treaty of 1858.

Article XVII.

If Chinese subjects at the places on the Chinese frontier to be opened to foreign trade who are guilty of any offense whatever against the laws of China shall take refuge in French houses or on board French ships or in the houses or ships of persons under the protection of France, upon the official application of the local authorities to the consul, and upon the particulars of their guilt being ascertained, steps shall be taken to seize and forward them to the Chinese officials for trial and punishment.

If criminals subjects of China shall take refuge in Annam they shall, upon due requisition by the Chinese authorities addressed to the French authorities, be searched for, and, on proof of their guilt, be delivered up in the manner provided for in the extradition treaties entered into between France and the most favored nation.

In the event of crimes committed by French citizens, or persons under French protection, should the accused take refuge in Chinese territory, the Chinese authorities shall, upon due requisition addressed to them by the French authorities, and, upon proof of his guilt, take steps to secure such person and deliver him to the French authorities for trial and punishment. These persons shall not be harbored or concealed in the smallest degree by either party.

Article XVIII.

In cases in which provision has not been made in the present articles for the regulation of land frontier trade action shall be taken in accordance with the Chinese maritime customs trade regulations, or in a manner consistent with the general provisions of existing treaties.

In the case of other matters upon which no arrangement has been determined the authorities of both Governments shall apply to their respective countries for instructions.

Should any addition to or revision of the foregoing articles hereafter be found necessary, such addition or revision shall be decided upon in consultation at the expiration of ten years from the exchange of ratifications in the manner provided for in Article VIII of the new treaty.

The present trade regulations shall be published in China, France, and Annam, and shall come into force as soon as they have been ratified by both Governments, and, as before, the ratification shall be exchanged at Peking at the latest within one year from the date of signature.