« AnteriorContinuar »
not dwell on this question. You know, gentlemen, what is being done along those lines by our various State and Federal Government legislators.
Let us now view the question of the cost of labor. We understand from reliable authority that one franc or one lire is equal in purchasing power to the American dollar. We also understand that an expert macaroni pressman gets two to three francs or 40 to 60 cents per day as wages. We pay our pressmen in this country from $10 to $16 per week, or over 66 per cent more than the European manufacturers. Our working hours are also much shorter. Our brief will show that we are at a disadvantage to the tune of 33 to 50 per cent.
We are also subject to the various State laws as to the matter of employing labor. In some States the working hours have been cut down from 5 to 10 per cent; minors and females are not permitted to work any overtime, while our competitor, the Italian manufacturer, employs mostly women and children.
We wish further to call your attention to the fact that the European macaroni manufacturers and importers are perfectly satisfied with the present duty. I do not wonder at it; when we take note of the steady increase in the imported article. To show their disinclination, to stir up the question, you have but to refer to statement made by Louis J. Scaranelli, who represents one of the largest importers of macaroni; P. Pastene & Co., of New York and Boston. They import 1,500,000 boxes per year.' He said, before a previous committee, "By rights, we want to protect the manufacturers of this country and ask that no increase of duty shall be made."
You will find this statement on page 3609 of Tariff Hearings, Schedule G, 1908.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I wish to ask your committee to recommend that the present rate of duty of 14 cents per pound be continued. We would appreciate an increase of one-half cent per pound or 2 cents per pound if we could get it. MEMORIAL OF THE ITALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN NEW
YORK. Hon. 0. C. UNDERWOOD,
Chairman Ways and Means Committee, Washington, D. C. SIR: The readjustment of the duties on several articles included in Schedule G, which, being articles of food, are so identified with the cost of living, is, together with that of other indispensable commodities, one of the principal objects of the present revision of the tariff, aiming at the relief of the hardships experienced of late years by the less fortunate classes of our population through the high cost of the dire necessities of life.
The bearing of the tariff upon the material welfare of the masses, for the most part composed of people of small means and limited earning capacity, has become the more important since the remarkable increase in the cost of many necessities, through the fact that production has not in this country kept pace with the demand, while discomfort has been further accentuated by those combinations of interests controlling the market of various commodities, that, illegitimate as they are, in the spirit of the constitutional laws governing a democratic community as ours, based upon equality of rights and opportunity for all men, is, however, impossible to prevent or eliminate by direct legislation, whích, elaborate as it may be framed, will always leave loopholes whereby the spirit if not the letter of the law may be noncomplied with and can effectually be avoided only by creating such conditions of economic environment that will render impossible combinations of interests to the benefit of A few and to the detriment of the many.
At any rate the tariff should not be made, as it has been during the last 15 years, the instrumentality whereby the consumer was practically deprived of the right to draw for the prime necessities of life from the best available sources of the world.
While it must be recognized that it is wise to maintain a certain measure of protection on those domestic articles which enjoy the benefits of a competitive supply, it is not wise to protect indiscriminately and in the measure at present accorded, those articles whích, under the specious argument of protection, are taken out of the field of competition. Let this factor enter in a greater measure into the economic life of the Nation and American endeavor will prove again equal to its traditions in meeting the conditions of a freer and less artificious economic fabric than exists at present, fostered by privileged class legislation, of which the excessive duties now obtaining on many necessities, are an exponent.
New factors have, during the last 15 years, in which the high protective rates have prevailed, come into operation in our national economic life, such as the notable immigration from southern Europe, which has developed a demand for a number of food products originating from their respective countries, products of a characteristic type, such as can not be produced in this country, or are not yet produced in the quantity required by consumption; the increase in the consumption of domestic food, due to the increase of population and the increase in the consumption per capita, owing to the constant improvement in the standard of life of our people, with which increase production has not kept apace, as witnessed by the decrease in the exportation of many staples of life, the development in the methods of preservation of many foods, which, under a less regulated system, would be abundant at certain times of the year and scarce in others, and which has stimulated the concentration, in comparatively few hands, of their handling and marketing, maintaining high prices even when the public could reasonably expect moderate prices by reason of the abundance of the supply, and provoking sharp increases of prices under less favorable conditions of the supply; all circumstances these which should find their counterbalancing in a freer and more competitive condition of the market.
Hence the importance of lightening duties on commodities that are indispensable in livelihood, and of eliminating a system of protection that is not only superfluous to domestic production, but dearly paid for by the large majority of the people, and which only goes to the benefit of a restricted number of producers and distributors.
Nor should the correlation often existing between certain imported food articles and the consumption of domestic food products be overlooked, as certain imported articles prove of valuable assistance and stimulus to the consumption of other important domestic products.
This country, with its vast agricultural resources and great natural advantages, able to produce all kinds of commodities obtainable in temperate and subtropical climates, with unsurpassable facilities in means of transportation, with technical knowledge and skill highly developed, with educational advantages within easy reach of all, with the lessons of the experience of other nations to profit from, without inherited prejudices to fight against, or past errors to remedy, enjoys in all lines of husbandry, but especially in the production of the staples of life, a preeminence in which she is not equaled by any other.
What is desirable is intensification of endeavor and method, prevention of waste, more direct contact between producer and consumer, but as well talk of carrying coal to Newcastle as of any need of protection to the American husbandman, whose record in bringing forth plentifully the gifts of mother earth, in feeding other nations besides her own, is of world-wide recognition, and whose balance sheet is probably the most satisfactory that can be shown to the credit of any class of citizens in our community, certainly enabling him not to trouble himself with the seven lean cows of Joseph's dream.
One of the forceful arguments why duties on many food products should be lightenep is the fact that their cost has, through the inevitable working of the law of supply and demand, increased notably of late years in the countries of production, which therefore lessens any possible danger of competition to domestic production.
Another, no less important, is the increase of freights that has generally taken place in imported merchandise, at a rate varying from 50 to 75 per cent.
Enumerated as we have the remarkable changes that have taken place during the last 15 years in the conditions of the food demand and supply, explained the position of the foreign supply in its relation to the needs of this country, it is apparent that duties upon these commodities should adapt themselves to the changed circumstances that have intervened, and are only justified as a measure for raising revenue, in which case less burdensome rates should prevail. And, on these premises, it behooves this PARAGRAPH 237-MACARONI.
chamber to suggest for each singular commodity to this honorable committee what rate or rates would, in our opinion, combine the advantages of fair returns to revenue with the least burden upon the consumer.
MACARONI, VERMICELLI, AND ALL SIMILAR PREPARATIONS.
The present rate of 14 cents per pound on an article which, in the frugal diet of millions of our population and especially of consumers of small means, is a necessity, should be reduced to 1 cent per pound.
The consumption of macaroni is now supplied, in almost equal shares, by foreign and domestic production. The latter has the advantage of cheaper flour, the protection of maritime freight (which on foreign macaroni is of about 94 cents per box of 22 pounds), of readier supply, of cheaper cost, selling from 77 cents for the cheapest grades to $1.10 for the best qualities per box, against average selling prices for the imported respectively of $1.35 to $1.45.
freight has increased on the imported article about 50 per cent in the past year.
Importations of this article, which are mainly from Italy (supplying about 95 per cent of the total), have increased from 87,720,730 pounds in fiscal year 1907 to 114,779,116 in 1911, because the consumer demands the foreign article for certain specific qualities it possesses, i. e., higher glutenous content and better results in cooking, qualities these, which only the better grades of semola used abroad, and the climatic conditions under which the manufacture takes place, can secure.
To facilitate its importations is, therefore, to secure to the consumer the advantage of a better nutrition, without any prejudice to domestic production, which, with the advantages of cheaper material, and cheaper cost of production through lower cost of power, finds an increased and prosperous market because of the reputation created to this food mainly through the instrumentality of the foreign product; so that domestic production can show to its credit an even more notable increase and prosperity than that shown by the foreign trade.
A reduction of the duty to 1 cent per pound, such as recommended by this chamber, would still maintain to domestic production the advantage of about 25 per cent protection, with no prejudice to revenue.
Cheese. --The increasing consumption and importation of this important article of diet (from about 34,000,000 pounds in fiscal year 1907 to over 45,500,000 pounds in 1911) is a desirable feature from the standpoint of health and of notable benefit to revenue.
The present rate of 6 cents per pound on the cheaper varieties of cheese is equivalent to an ad valorem rate of about 25 per cent and to a protection to domestic production ranging from about 30 to 40 per cent.
Why such protection, when milk is produced in this country cheaper than in any other part of the world, owing to the abundance of fodder and the high-yielding productiveness of the animals compared with those of the countries furnishing the largest supply of cheese to the United States, is not easy to account for and all the more difficult to explain, when the fact is considered that foreign cheese, in its manifold types, does not enter into competition with the domestic article, from which it differs materially.
The styles of cheese imported in the largest quantity from abroad are not produced in this country, save the Swiss cheese, and sell, as a rule, at a much higher price, being demanded for their peculiar characteristic qualities, which can not be reproduced in this country.
Such cheese as Parmasan, Roman, Gorgonzola, etc., are imported because they can not be produced in this country, requiring for their production certain conditions of the dairy industry, pasturage, climate, and experienced hands which do not obtain here. These varieties are helpful in promoting the consumption of other important articles of American production (macaroni, rice, etc.). They enter largely into the consumption of the people of limited means who feel most keenly the present high cost of livmg.
Under such circumstances, when the primary cost of the article has already increased for causes which are beyond remedial control, to which must be added the advance of about 50 per cent in freights, the additional cost caused by the present high rate of duty is heavier to bear than it was when better conditions prevailed regarding the primary cost of transportation outlays of this commodity.
As no prejudice can derive to domestic production by reducing the present rate, nor to revenue, by reason of the probable increase in the demand which would thereby be stimulated, while a substantial relief would be felt by the consumer in the price PARAGRAPH 237-MACARONI.
of this necessity, this chamber recommends that the duty on cheese be reduced from 6 to 3 cents per pound.
Garlic.—This article is not produced in the United States, but imported mostly from Italy and Mexico, in the fiscal year 1911 to the amount of 8,082,024 pounds, is used as flavoring in cooking or in the preparation of pickles and is subject at present to a duty of 1 cent per pound (under paragraph 261). It is worth from 3 to 4 cents per pound, so that it pays a duty equivalent to an ad valorem rate of over 27 per cent. There being practically no production in this country, the duty can not have any protective significance. The use of this vegetable, so popular among a number of the population originating from the Mediterranean and as a rule consumers of small means, seems to have a salutary effect as a disinfectant of the system and a preventative against certain troubles. Under such circumstances this chamber respectfully requests that it be exempted from duty.
Likewise, this chamber respectfully solicits that dried red peppers, at present subject to a duty of 24 cents per pound (under paragraph 298), and which are not produced in this country, and are almost exclusively consumed by poor people, be placed on the free list.
Preserved or prepared vegetables dutiable under paragraphs 252 and 253. Under these paragraphs are included tomatoes, artichokes, peppers, etc., preserved or prepared in tins, tomato sauce, and tomato paste, articles these subject to 40 per cent ad valorem, an exorbitant rate considering that they are articles of common use for a great number of our population and not luxuries.
The importation of preserved tomatoes, of which Italy is practically the sole foreign provider, has, like that of tomato sauce, considerably developed of late years, so that of the former alone the importation increased from $541,080 in fiscal year 1907 to $859,395 in 1911, while that of tomato sauce has averaged in the last five years about $250,000 yearly.
Preserved tomatoes are produced in this country far cheaper, as low as 77} cents per dozen of 3-pound tins f. 6. b. at Baltimore, Md., against an equivalent of about 92 cents for similar goods f. o. b. Naples, with a difference therefore in the primary cost of production of about 15 cents. To the aforestated figures must be added, in the case of the imported tomatoes, the maritime freight of about 15 cents, while it is only 6! cents from Baltimore to New York, which difference, together with that in the primary cost of production, gives to the American article a natural protection of about 25 per cent, and to this must be added the present exorbitant tariff protection of 40 per cent ad valorem, bringing the total cost of the foreign article at New York up to $1.44 against 84 cents for the domestic article, which therefore enjoys a protection of over 71 per cent.
The reason why preserved tomatoes are imported, notwithstanding the much cheaper domestic production, is that they are supplied to a class of consumers who, notwithstanding their small means, require them for their characteristic qualities of flavor, essential for the use to which they are destined, qualities that are not possessed in an equal measure by the domestic article. They do not compete with the domestic production, first because they are of different quality, second because of their higher primary cost of production, irrespective of duty.
Freight on this, as on other preserved canned goods, has increased of late years to the extent of 50 per cent, another argument why they should not be subjected to the high rate of duty obtaining at present.
These articles should be permitted to enter this country at a moderate rate of duty, because they are helpful to the consumption of alimentary paste, and a variety of other American foods, being used principally in the preparation of the dressing of these foods.
Other advantages besides the above, showing both the necessity of a reduction of duty under this heading, as well as the fact that not the slightest prejudice would derive to domestic production from such reduction are: Less liability to deterioration from swelling of the domestic article, in comparison with the imported, which has to stand sea journey and change of climate; the fact that tomato sauce, artichokes, and peppers in tins are used exclusively by foreign people, and are not produced to any extent in the United States, thus eliminating any motive for protection, while the present duty, considering the small value of tomato sauce, ranging from 24 to 44 cents per 7-ounce tin, is excessive; the lower cost of tomatoes in this country than abroad, which would secure to any domestic manufacturer of this article a lower primary cost, rendering protection unnecessary.
For the above-stated considerations this chamber, believing that no material loss would derive to revenue from the reductions suggested, respectfully recommends to
PARAGRAPH 237-MACARONI. this honorable committee that the present rate of 40 per cent on preserved or prepared tomatoes and other vegetables, on tomato sauce and tomato paste, be reduced to 20 per cent.
Fish.—The importations under this heading include a variety of fish, such as tunny, anchovies, sardelles, etc., which are not produced in this country and have therefore to be imported, either under oil or salted. These commodities are already under the disadvantage of a high and increasing cost of production in the countries of origin, due to the scarcity of the yield from the fisheries and to the increased demand. The present rates of duty are unnecessarily high, and find no justification as protective rates, for no such fish is packed in the United States, while they only increase the cost of living to a numerous class of consumers.
Tunny fish costs on the average 215 lire per 100 kilos, anchovies 135 lire, and ardelles 53 lire f. o. b. Genoa. There has been of late years an increase averaging from 10 to 35 per cent in the prices of these commodities, to which should be added the increase of 50 per cent in the freights.
The present method of levying duties on fish is not devoid of considerable inconsistency and discrimination, because in the case of fish in oil, while it assesses the small packages up to a size of more than 33 and not more than 70 cubic inches with specific rates, it taxes the packages over that size at the rate of 30 per cent, which averages far higher, with no reason to justify such difference of duty on the same article.
It is therefore apparent, for reasons of equity, that a flat rate on fish, both preserved in salt or in oil, based on the weight, would be far more acceptable than the present system of partly specific and partly ad valorem rates, which too frequently lead to controversies between importers and appraisers in establishing market values.
This chamber is in favor of a flat rate of 1 cent per pound in packages of not over 5 pounds upon fish packed or preserved in oil or in salt, and of a flat rate of one-half cent per pound when in packages of over 5 pounds.
Filberts. There is no production of filberts in the United States, and they are mostly imported from Italy to the amount of about 14,000,000 pounds in 1911. These nuts pay a duty of 5. cents per pound if shelled, and of 3 cents if unshelled (under paragraph 281). It is difficult to account for such high duty, since there is no domestic production to protect, while for revenue purposes a milder rate would probably yield as much as the present by encouraging importations and their use in confectionery and at table.
This chamber recommends that filberts be included in paragraph 283 as “nuts of all kinds, shelled or unshelled, etc.," dutiable at 1 cent per pound. Respectfully submitted.
Luigi SOLARI, President.
BRIEF OF ATLANTIC MACARONI CO., NEW YORK CITY.
Washington, D. C., January 20, 1913. The COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. HONORABLE GENTLEMEN: We beg to submit the inclosed brief for your kind consideration, and beg to assure you that any further information or enlightenment will be cheerfully given at the present hearing or at any time at your request. Respectfully, yours,
ATLANTIC MACARONI Co.,
New York City. (Inclosure.)
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 20, 1913. COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. HONORABLE GENTLEMEN: It is our opinion that in order to place the macaroni industry in this country on an encouraging basis and permit it to compete on terms of equality with the imported article, an increase of one-half cent per pound, bringing the tariff to 2 cents per pound, would be fair and equitable.
The present rate of duty has permitted some domestic manufacturers to survive, but records show that over 50 per cent of those who entered this business have been com