693.003/4–1549: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Tientsin (Smyth)68

107. Dept considering problem raised by Commie abrogation GATT tariff rates (urtel 242 Apr 15) but discrimination imports from North China believed impractical due difficulty ascertaining real origin most commodities. Believed trade could circumvent discriminatory duties against imports North China by transshipment Hong Kong, Shanghai or other ports, with possibility tracing origin only in case few goods such as rugs and carpets. To be effective therefore would have to deny GATT rates to China as whole, which deemed undesirable.

As matter policy Dept would prefer convince Commies if possible that GATT provides equal benefits Chinese exports. For example, of goods exports of which monopolized by Commie authorities (urtel 168 Mar 2569), in GATT US bound duty on sorted, bunched, prepared bristles at 3 cents lb, reduced duty soybean oil from 3½ cents lb but not less 45 percent ad valorem to 3 cents lb not less 22½ percent ad valorem, reduced duty castor beans from ½ cent to lb, on castor oil from 3 cents to 1½ cents lb, on peanut oil from 4 cents lb to 3 cents lb, and bound duty on cottonseed oil at 3 cents lb. Similarly, of products not monopolized, US reduced duty walnuts, shelled, blanched, roasted, prepared, from 15 cents to 7½ cents; rugs not made power-driven loom from 50 cents sq ft but not under 45 percent ad valorem to 15 cents sq ft but not under 22½ percent ad valorem; woolen floor coverings nspf valued at more than 40 cents sq ft from 60 percent to [Page 941] 40 percent ad valorem, valued at not more than 40 cents sq ft from 30% to 15% ad valorem. Other examples in Schedule XX GATT, which can be compared rates shown in Tariff 193070 or Customs House Guide.

You authorized bring facts of such concessions made in GATT by US to attention customs and other appropriate officials in manner deemed best. Shld explain GATT is multilateral trade agreement concurred in by 23 different sovereign nations including Czechoslovakia, but, if asked, not USSR, that tariff concessions contained in it were negotiated by individual countries with each other, that in each case concessions were made by both parties and resulted in advantages and benefits deemed equal both parties. In negotiating concessions with China, US tariff concessions of course depended on concessions China was willing to make, and vice versa. You may inform such authorities as you can reach that it is not generally policy of US Govt discriminate against trade other countries unless US trade unfairly treated, and this Govt hopes it will not be necessary reconsider problem due Commie action re GATT.

Peiping should attempt reach authorities there with parallel and similar representations.

  1. Repeated to the Consuls General at Peiping and Shanghai as telegrams Nos. 300 and 969, respectively.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Approved June 17, 1930; 46 Stat. 590.