The Italian Embassy to the Department of State 1

No. 9824

The Italian Embassy presents its compliments to the Department of State and has the honor to bring the following to its attention.

On July 8, 1948, the California Almond Growers Exchange submitted a request to the U.S. Tariff Commission for a 50% increase of the duty on shelled and blanched almonds, based on the estimated difference of the “domestic and foreign production cost”.

The Tariff Commission, after careful investigation, rejected the request on the ground that the domestic production was unable to supply the entire United States market and that the resulting deficiency had to be filled by foreign imports.

On April 13, 1950, another investigation was instituted, under sec. 22 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, for the purpose of determining whether imports of almonds, filberts, walnuts, etc. were interfering with the programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture relating to these products.

In November 1950, the Commission submitted a report to the President in which it stated that there was at that time no basis for any action under sec. 22, but that the Commission was continuing the investigation and would “keep in touch with the provisions and operations of marketing agreements and keep close watch on the course of [Page 1475] domestic and foreign production and other factors affecting the competition between domestic and imported tree nuts.”

A new investigation was ordered on July 12, 1951 and a public hearing in this connection will be held on 12th September, 1951.

In view of the foregoing, the Italian Embassy deems it opportune to present the enclosed memorandum2 which gives a general picture of the situation of the Italian export of almonds which represent one of the most typical and traditional Italian exports to the United States.

The production and processing of almonds provides work for many thousands of Italian families in areas which are afflicted by organic poverty and where other opportunities of work and income are practically non-existent (Sicily, Apulia and other regions of Southern Italy).

Therefore, any measures intended to increase duties or restrict imports of almonds into the United States would seriously injure the Italian economy and aggravate the trade deficit of a country which imports from the United States agricultural products in amounts 5–6 times surpassing the value of her exports to the U.S.

Moreover, the imports of Italian almonds are not in competition with the production of the United States, since, due to their particular characteristics and quality, they are destined to special uses, as for instance in the confectionary industry, which cannot be sufficiently supplied by the domestic production.

It is Italy’s most sincere intention not to interfere with, or endanger in any way the interest of the U.S. domestic production and for this reason, severe measures have been taken by the Italian Government in order to prevent any attempt to divert toward the U.S. market almond cargos directed to other countries, which could result in unfair price and marketing practices.

In view of the recent U.S. Agriculture Department regulations controlling the imports of Italian cheeses and of the threatened embargo against olive oil imports, any further restriction that might prevent the normal development of Italian almond exports will have serious repercussions on the Italian public opinion, will diminish the beneficial results of ECA activities in Italy, and will hamper the efforts of the Italian Government to reduce the dollar gap and to rebuild its trade with the U.S.

The Italian Embassy appeals to the Department of State recommending that no restrictive measure be applied against imports of Italian almonds and expresses its appreciation to the Department of State for its kind assistance and consideration in this matter.

  1. Initialed by the Italian Ambassador.
  2. Not printed.