The Minister in China ( Johnson ) to the Consul at Tsingtao ( Dorsey )9
Sir: I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch No. 394, of May 13, 1930,10 regarding a tax upon billboards and public advertising which discriminates against foreign goods in that “advertisements which promote Chinese goods are taxed thirty per cent less” (than those promoting foreign goods). You request the Legation’s instructions as to whether a protest should be made.
You are informed that the correct interpretation of Article I of the Sino-American Tariff Treaty of 1928 is that American goods shall not be subject to higher taxation in China than are the goods of the nationals of the nation most favored in this respect or of goods of the nationals of China. A protest would thus seem to be in order.[Page 280]
In this connection your attention is invited to the Legation’s circular instruction No. 231, of July 7, 1924, wherewith was transmitted undated instruction No. 645 from the Department11 concerning the taxation of advertisements. The Legation would appreciate receiving an expression of opinion from you as to the reasonableness of the amount of the tax to be levied, aside from the discriminatory feature already mentioned.
I am [etc.]
Counselor of Legation