The German Embassy to the Department of State

The latest legislative developments regarding the determination of rates of duty provided for in the bill now in the final stage of parliamentary consideration and entitled:

“71st Congress, 2nd Session, H. R. 2667, An Act to provide revenue, to regulate commerce with foreign countries, to encourage the industries of the United States, to protect American labor, and for other purposes”,

have caused much anxiety among German industries and commerce engaged in trade with the United States. The existing fear for the future of their trade seems well justified in view of the fact that the proposed increases in rates of American duty would affect to the point of practical import prohibition with respect to Germany, a great majority of just such articles as the German Government enumerated in the enclosure to its Memorandum, submitted to the Government of the United States on July 25, 1929,62 and in which certain economic reasons for consideration in connection with the revision of the respective rates of duty were set forth in detail. It may be stated that particularly grave concern is felt by the [Page 249] interested German industries over the effect on their trade of the American rates of duty now proposed for the following merchandise:

  • clocks (par. 368, Tariff Act of 1922),
  • upholstery cloth and tapestry (par. 909/10 Tariff Act of 1922),
  • jewelry (par. 1428, Tariff Act of 1922),
  • leather (par. 1606, Tariff Act of 1922) and
  • leather goods (par. 1432, Tariff Act of 1922).

Exhaustive studies have definitely convinced German Authorities on leather trade, for instance, that the item in German exports to the United States covering leather and leather-goods, amounting to approximately 45.000.000 RM p. a. at present, would completely disappear if the tariff bill in its present form were enacted into law by the United States.

The seriousness of the economic situation of Germany, resulting from her constantly unfavorable trade balance with the United States, her most unfavorable position in the system of the world’s balances of payment and particularly with respect to her balance of payment with the United States, would be further aggravated to a considerable extent, should the proposed new rates of duty go into effect against most of the products shipped today from Germany to the United States.

  1. Printed in Tariff Act of 1929: Hearings before the Committee on Finance, United States Senate, 71st Cong., 1st sess., on H. R. 2667 … vol. xviii (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1929), p. 221.