Mr. Hanna to
Buenos Ayres, November 19, 1887. (Received December 27.)
Sir: The Argentine Congress yesterday, by a strong vote, fully annulled all its export duties of every kind. This system for raising public revenue had been of long standing and most serious detriment to the industries of the country. United States importers interested in Argentine trade, its wools, hides, and linseed, and other kindred products, superabundant and cheap here and so desirable to them, can not fail to be interested in this event, and to note great advantage in it.
The export tax here on wool, for a long time amounting to 6 per cent, on its estimated official valuation, as the result of a strong popular demand, last year, was reduced 2 per cent., and now that the repeal is sweeping and entirely obliterating all vestige of such duties, every trading interest, interior and foreign, affected by it has cause for rejoicing.
This reduction just now is quite remarkable on the part of the Argentine Congress, when its treasury balances were strained and hard to reconcile. But it has been done, and is a strong appeal for reciprocity on the part of the United States.
I trust I may be allowed to make a single suggestion in this connection, not in argument, but only for general information and for the furtherance of better trade relations between the Argentine Republic and the United States. They have repealed their export laws and some-thing is left for us to do. As matters now stand a very strange discrimination is authorized and enforced by our Government against our Argentine friends; for they have been such from the first and are now our friends.
Mr. George F. Brown, an importer of New York, who has long dealt in Argentine products, puts the question so clearly it can not be improved.
In the matter of Argentine wools he says:
The duty on combing and clothing wools, costing not more than 30 cents per pound at the place of growth, is 10 cents per pound for unwashed, regardless of condition or of their relative value to our manufacturers. This is a serious inconsistency and is a discrimination against Argentine wools, for the reason that they are much heavier in dirt and grease than wools from Australia and New Zealand. As the actual value of wool to the manufacturer depends on its quality in the scoured state and that it [Page 2] must be scoured before it can be manufactured, it follows, in the application of a specific duty to wools in the grease, that the duties are heavier or lighter according to the quantity of dirt and grease the wool contains. In other words, that the duty on scoured wools should be considered.
At present Argentine wools pay the same specific duties as those from Australia and New Zealand, 10 cents per pound in the grease, but from their respective yield in scoured wool it is plain the tax is greater on the former than the latter. The average yield of Buenos Ayres wool is about 32 pounds in 100, so the duty per scoured pound would be over 31 cents. Forty per cent, is considered by dealers the average yield of Australian or New Zealand wool, and such at 10 cents per pound would be equivalent to more than 24 cents per scoured pound, or nearly 7 cents per pound less than on Buenos Ayres wool.
Here is such a discrimination against the Argentine product, an unintentional one, doubtless, that with the former export duties of this country added on, United States dealers could not possibly deal in it at all at a profit. Now that the export tax is removed it remains for our Government to finish the good work and to re-open the wool trade with this country, which would be of vast profit to us in many ways, without any attending political disturbance.
Anything that will re-establish the ancient trade relations of these two countries is of vital interest on all sides. No suggestions are made about the tariff question whatever, but why not arrange to have the Argentine Republic stand side by side with Australia, New Zealand, and other countries? Can anybody desire to continue discrimination against a sister Republic of our own continent struggling against many hinderances to follow in the footsteps of the United States and in favor of distant countries like New Zealand and Australia, the fostered colonies of England, the most powerful and partisan trade in the world?
I have, etc.