Mr. Planten to Mr. Gresham.

Sir: It has been brought to the knowledge of our minister of foreign affairs at The Hague and to my notice that, on sugar imported from the Netherlands in different parts of the United States a duty of one-tenth of a cent additional per pound had been levied, on the supposition that the Netherlands pay an export bounty on sugar.

In order to remove all doubts on the subject I hereby inclose a copy of a note handed, in September, 1891, by the chief administrator of customs to Mr. Thayer, at that time minister of the United States at The Hague, about our sugar laws, and containing a further explanation of a note addressed by our minister of foreign affairs, dated August 10, 1891, to Mr. Thayer, copy of which you will also find inclosed, the result of which was, as you are aware, that under the McKinley law the additional duty of one-tenth of a cent per pound was not levied on Dutch sugars, and consequently ought not to be imposed now either under the new tariff.

Requesting you to inform the Honorable Secretary of the Treasury of the foregoing news of my Government, I beg you to accept the assurance of my high consideration.

J. H. Planten.
[Inclosure.]

The law of the Netherlands concerning sugar.

A manufacturer of beet sugar is at liberty to choose between the “exercice” (a tax on sugars intended for consumption without bounty, drawback, or refund of duties when the sugar is exported) and the system of “prise en charge” for a fixed quantity of sugar in proportion to the quantity and the density of the juice previous to defecation. This “prise en charge” amounts to 1.45 or 1.40 kilograms of refined sugar per hectoliter and degree of (density of the?) juice, according as the defecation takes [Page 1023]place before or after the end of the year. Manufacturers are required to pay an additional tax when they subject the juices to osmosis, or to separation by the Steffen method.

As the cultivation of beets and the beet-sugar industry have made decided progress, while the “prise en charge” has remained unchanged since 1867, it follows that the actual yield of sugar exceeds the quantity which is charged to the manufacturer (for the collection of duty thereon) and the manufacturer receives a bounty more or less large according to the richness of the beets used and the care taken by him in the process of manufacture.

This advantage, the only one of the kind that is granted by law to the sugar industry, is enjoyed by all manufactured sugar products, and, even considering as a bounty on exportation that which is enjoyed, together with others, by sugars intended for exportation after or before being refined, the law takes no account of this shade of color, the drawback on raw and bastard sugars being calculated according to their richness, as demonstrated by analysis (i. e., as shown by the polariscope, with the coefficients 2 for glucose and 4 for ashes).