Mr. Storer to Mr. Hay.

No. 185.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that I have just received a visit from the minister of foreign affairs at the legation, who informed me that the royal decree revising the prohibition of the importation of American cattle will be officially promulgated during the first week of April. He at the same time handed me a statement of the views of the ministry of finance on the question of the additional duties imposed in the United States on Belgian sugars, as he stated for my information and convenience. A duplicate of the same he also informed me had been to-day transmitted to the Belgian minister at Washington.

I inclose a copy and a translation of this nonofficial statement and will advise the Department by cable of the official promulgation of the royal decree.

I have, etc.,

Bellamy Storer.

The additional duties to which Belgian sugars are subjected on entering the United States of America have been provisionally fixed at 4.50 francs for raw sugars and 5.36 francs for refined sugars.

As to German sugars the rate of such additional duties is 3.10 francs and 4.44 francs, respectively, making a difference in favor of Germany of 1.40 francs (on raw sugar) and of 0.92 franc (on refined sugar).

Sugars of Austrian origin pay additional duties of 3.42 francs and of 5.25 francs, respectively, on raw sugar and refined sugar, thereby receiving an advantage of 1.08 francs and of 0.11 franc over Belgian sugars. It is well known that in Austria sugar manufacturers have formed a syndicate whereby, from the high duties which foreign sugars pay on entering that country, manufacturers can raise the price of sugar for the interior of the Empire; and so, independently of the direct export bounty, the Austrian manufacturers have the advantage of an indirect bounty for which no equivalent exists in Belgium.

A similiar syndicate is at present in formation in Germany.

Consequently to reestablish the freedom of competition in the American market, the additional duties on Belgian sugars should at the outside be 3 francs for raw sugar and 3.25 francs for refined sugar. In any case the difference of the additional duty on these two kinds of sugars should not be above 0.25 franc, as one can not lose sight of the fact that, contrary to the case in other countries, the entire Belgian bounty arising from the surplus production is fixed according to the richness of the raw sugar. Since there exists in Belgium no bounty to cover cost of refining, the difference between the duties on raw and refined sugar ought to be fixed in proportion (to cover this).

The figures 3 francs and 3.25 francs above given have reference to the present situation. They should naturally be reduced to 2.25 francs and 2.43 francs for brut and refined sugars, respectively, from and after the 15th of August, 1899, the date of beginning work in the [Page 91] manufactories, when will come into force the law of 29th December, 1898, which raises the rate of the “prise en charge” from 1,900 to 2,000 grams per hectoliter of juice at one degree of density, as the application of this measure will have the effect of diminishing in the proportion of the difference of the above figures the indirect protection which sugar receives in Belgium.