683.003/33: Telegram

The Minister in Egypt (Jardine) to the Secretary of State

111. Since promulgation of present provisional tariff regime the Egyptian Government has on several occasions revised upward the rates of import duties on certain articles. Principal among these are certain fresh and dried fruit and vegetables, wheat and certain other cereals and flours therefrom including all alimentary pastes, and sugar including glucose and alimentary preparations therefrom. Principally [Page 151] affected imports from the United States are glucose and wheat flour. Latest decree was published yesterday. Commercial Attaché cabled new rates this morning.

Representations regarding corn [glucose] have been made to me by representative Corn Products Refining Company along lines earlier memorandum (see Legation’s despatch No. 33 [331] of February 13, 1930).21 Imports of this commodity, approximately $100,000 in 1928 and 1929, have been greatly reduced this year and will be practically eliminated by decree published yesterday.

Stated object of increase[s] is to further Government’s new economic policy, particularly in the field of agricultural relief. It is hoped new duties will encourage increased production crops and wheat, and development processing industries for same.

I am informed that the Egyptian State Legal Commission has handed down opinion that Government is within its legal right to modify provisional tariff as it may wish. I have inquired of Residency and of French, Belgian, Italian and Greek Legations regarding their attitude. They are hopeful that formal representations may safeguard their countries’ principal exports to Egypt for the time being. They are apparently not yet prepared to force the issue as regards legal position of Egyptian Government under the present provisional commercial accords with the capitulatory powers. While some of them seem to feel that Egyptian Government has gone farther than the circumstances and spirit in which these accords were signed justify, I have formed the opinion that they are reluctant to press matters in the light of present internal political situation.

When provisional accords were signed it was of course anticipated that a definitive tariff would be adopted this Fall by Egyptian Parliament and definitive treaties negotiated before next February. Political developments have rendered this impossible and it now appears certain Egyptian Government will wish to extend the present provisional agreements for another year. Some of my colleagues feel that in these circumstances present tariff position might well be carefully reviewed in advance and efforts also be made to obtain some assurance that their trade would not be jeopardized during such period by further frequent and severe increases in the rates on their principal exports to Egypt.

I should appreciate your views as basis for further conversation with my colleagues.

  1. Not printed.