The Swedish Legation to the Department of State


In a memorandum, dated January 17, 1934, the State Department declared that the United States would be prepared, in return for acceptable provisions regarding the treatment of American commerce by Sweden, to give assurances that unbleached sulphite and sulphate wood pulp and standard news print paper would be exempt from import duties or restrictions, including charges or restrictions to which these products might otherwise be subject under the provisions of the National Industrial Recovery Act.

In another memorandum, dated January 22nd, the State Department declared that in connection with the proposed reciprocal trade agreement between Sweden and the United States, the United States would request that there be included in any such agreement provision for reduction in duties by Sweden on certain products of the United States and assurance against increase in existing duties on certain other products, as indicated in the list attached hereto.18

In addition to the concessions referred to above the Government of the United States would desire that the suggested agreement also include provisions designed to permit the restoration of imports of wheat and wheat flour from the United States to approximately the amounts imported annually in the period 1926–1930.

The Swedish Government highly appreciate the United States Government’s desire to enter upon discussions with a view of reaching an agreement for facilitating and developing the trade relations between the United States and Sweden, as well as the United States Government’s declaration about its preparedness, in connection therewith, to guarantee continued free importation of certain Swedish articles.

In view of the present difficulties for the international trade the Swedish Government find it highly desirable that agreements are made, whereby security is established for an even development of trade relations between countries which offer natural conditions for an increased exchange of commodities. For these reasons the Swedish Government greet with special satisfaction the United States Government’s initiative.

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With this view as a starting point the Swedish Government find it so much easier to agree to the general principles on which the two memoranda of the United States Government are based, as at present a considerable number of articles, of great importance for the United States, are on the Swedish free list and exempt from any kind of import restrictions.

The tariff rates which certain American articles at present have to pay for importation into Sweden are considerably lower than in most countries and cannot be said to constitute any difficulties or hindrance for the sale of these American goods in Sweden. In spite of the well-known situation with regard to the international trade and the commercial policy in the world, and in spite of the fact that strong pressure has been borne on the Swedish Government, especially during the last years, for the increase of the tariff rates, the Swedish Government have so far refrained from such increases.

The conditions in this respect which are at present prevailing in Sweden, must, in the Swedish Government’s opinion, constitute such a considerable advantage for the American export trade, that already a confirmation thereof on important points ought to be considered not only to fully correspond to the right to free importation into the United States of the Swedish articles now on the United States free list, but also to justify facilities concerning tariff rates and customs treatment in the United States for such Swedish articles, the sale of which in this country has been prevented or hampered by the tariff act now in force. Any such facilities would undoubtedly contribute to an increase in the trade exchange on a wider basis.

In view of what has been said above, the Swedish Government, generally speaking, cannot find that further reductions in the Swedish tariff rates are justified for the articles mentioned in the list attached to the memorandum of January 22, 1934, but the Swedish Government will be glad to explain this further during the coming discussion of the desiderata presented from both sides.

Concerning especially the United States Government’s desire about wheat and wheat flour the Swedish Government regret very much that, owing to the existing situation, which certainty is known to the United States Government, they do not see their way to meet the United States Government’s wishes on this point. As is generally known, Sweden has at present a considerable surplus of wheat above the domestic consumption, and this situation has created serious difficulties for the Swedish agriculture.

In accordance with the starting points mentioned above and in view of the mutual desire to strengthen and further develop the trade relations between the two countries, the Swedish Government find that the two American memoranda and this memorandum, in view of the [Page 723] existing situation, constitute a suitable basis for negotiations for a commercial treaty, based on the most-favored-nation principle, and the Swedish Government are prepared to start such negotiations immediately.

  1. List not printed.