The American Minister in China (Johnson) to the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs (C. T. Wang)31

No. 151

Your Excellency: I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the American Consul at Tsingtao reports that during April, 1930, the Tsingtao Special Municipality promulgated new provisional regulations governing billboards and other forms of public advertising, and that Chapter I, Article 15 of these regulations contains a provision clearly discriminating against advertisements of foreign-made goods in favor of those of native origin. The discriminatory provision in question permits of a reduction of thirty per cent in the amount of the tax paid for the display of advertisements of Chinese goods and, according to the regulations, is intended to promote the production and sale of native products.

I desire to call Your Excellency’s attention to the fact that the discriminatory feature mentioned contravenes the spirit, if not the letter, of Article I of the Sino-American Tariff Treaty of 1928 and that, while I am in sympathy with the efforts being made by Your Excellency’s Government to encourage the use of domestic products, I feel that such encouragement might well be effected by means other than the imposition of discriminatory taxes on American goods. Accordingly I have the honor to request Your Excellency to issue appropriate instructions to the Special Municipality of Tsingtao, to the end that this indirect but discriminatory taxation of American goods in the matter of advertisements may cease.

I avail myself [etc.]

Nelson Trusler Johnson
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister in China in his despatch No. 446, September 5, 1930; received October 8.