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PARAGRAPH 270_FISH IN OIL.
Fish (except shellfish) by whatever name known, packed in oil, in bottles, jars, kegs, tin boxes, or cans, shall be dutiable as follows: When in packages containing seven and one-half cubic inches or less, one and one-half cents per bottle, jar, keg, box, or can; containing more than seven and one-half and not more than twenty-one cubic inches, two and one-half cents per bottle, jar, keg, box, or can; containing more than twenty-one and not more than thirtythree cubic inches, five cents per bottle, jar, keg, box, or can; containing more than thirty-three and not more than seventy cubic inches, ten cents per bottle, jar, keg, box, or can; all other fish (except shellfish) in tin packages, thirty per centum ad valorem; fish in packages, containing less than one-half barrel, and not specially provided for in this section, thirty per centum ad
valorem; caviar, and other preserved roe of fish, thirty per centum ad valorem. See also Italian Chamber of Commerce, page 2682; Legation of Norway, page 2740.
FISH IN OIL.
TESTIMONY OF S. S. MACK, REPRESENTING AUSTIN,
NICHOLS & CO. (INC.), OF NEW YORK CITY.
The witness was first duly sworn by the chairman.
Mr. Mack. I represent Austin, Nichols & Co., the largest wholesale grocers in the United States. I am here to talk on paragraph 270sardines. We want to show you the injustice of the present rate of duty on sardines, 1} cents a tin on all three of those tins. This tin, which I show you, is bought and consumed by poor people, principally by the East Side Jewish trade, as we know it in New York. This tin, with the duty on it, costs more than the Maine sardines, which some people think comes in competition with it. It does not. Tins of this caliber are paying the same duty, and are bought by a better class of people. This injustice probably came about by the lawmakers not fully understanding it when they put the duty on it, and it is for that reason I bring these samples here and ask you to look at them when you come to that question again.
Mr. FORDNEY. What is the relative value of those different tins?
Mr. Mack. This tin would retail, if packed with sprats, at 6 cents a tin, and a tin like that, packed with sprats, would retail at about 7 cents, and a tin like the third one sells for 6 cents. Tins like these sell for 10 and 12 cents and tins like these for 35 cents.
Mr. FORDNEY. The duty, then, is exactly the same on all of them!
Mr. Mack. The duty on all these four tins is 1} cents a tin, and the duty on these is 27 cents a tin; yet, you see the great difference in size. In order to overcome that we ask you to put a duty, a specific duty, of 2 cents per pound on all the sardines, all fish in oil, and that will equalize this difference in duty and give everybody a chance to buy these sardines at the relative prices they should have to pay for them. Mr. PALMER. IIow much does that large tin weigh? Mr. Mack. It holds 13.3 ounces. Mr. PALMER. You want the duty reduced ?
Mr. Mack. Yes, sir; we want the duty reduced. It practically comes to a very slight reduction.
Mr. PALMER. Why, then, do you want it reduced ?
Mr. Mack. We ask to have it reduced so we can sell large quantities of these sardines.
PARAGRAPH 270_FISH IN OIL.
Mr. FORDNEY. Do you believe the people would eat more foreign sardines if you had a low rate of duty on them?
Mr. Mack. Yes, and it would increase the revenue.
Mr. FORDNEY. Are you in any way interested in packing or manufacturing abroad?
Mr. Mack. Absolutely, no.
Mr. Mack. Different sizes of fish are packed in the large boxes. A box like this could not take the large fish in.
Mr. Hill. How long are those? They are practically all the same length, are they not?
Mr. Mack. They are practically all the same length, but the fish are different widths. In that sized box you could only get in about three fish, and then you would have to force them in. These little tins, sometimes, when the fish run small, hold five or six fish.
Mr. Hill. But you can get 12 in the largest box. Why do you do it? There must be some reason for it?
Mr. Mack. There is a popular demand for 10 or 12 fish in a box, but you could not put them in those tins; they would not fit in there. The fish are of various sizes.
Mr. LONGWORTH. That largest tin, you say, sells for about 35 cents ?
Mr. Hill. And that would make it about 50 cents, in round figures. I have not figured it exactly, for the value of the contents of that, and you want 4 per cent duty on it ?
Mr. MACK. Yes.
Mr. Mack. We are asking that the duty be put on the pound rate to equalize it between those different sizes.
Mr. Hill. It does not equalize it; it enormously reduces it.
may, in some instances. Mr. Hill. It does in every instance or else you would import the larger boxes ?
Mr. Mack. You could not sell a box like that to a poor person.
Mr. FORDNEY. What is the difference in value? You have the same fish in the small box as you have in the big box. One is 6 cents and the other 35 cents.
Mr. Mack. Yes.
Mr. FORDNEY. How many boxes of the small size would it take to contain as many fish as there are in the larger box?
Mr. Mack. You could not do that.
PARAGRAPH 270_FISH IN OIL,
Mr. FORDNEY. In weight and quantity-four or five boxes would go into a big one, would it not, of the small ones?
Mr. Mack. Yes, sir.
Mr. FORDNEY. Then the duty on weight and the cost would be practically the same, would it not?
Mr. Mack. No, sir.
Mr. FORDNEY. The duty would be a little more on the small package,
but the value of the fish would be the same? Mr. Mack. Yes, it would be. Mr. LONGWORTH. How much is the duty on that large tin now? Mr. Mack. Two and one-half cents a tin. Mr. LONGWORTH. And you sell it at 35 cents ? Mr. Mack. Yes.
Mr. LONGWORTH. What would you sell it for if that duty were taken off ?
Mr. Mack. Probably for 24 cents less.
Mr. FORDNEY. Mr. Jones, from Massachusetts, who came here to testify in regard to shoes, said the duty on raw hides added to the cost of a pair of shoes added 2 cents to a pair which he sold for $3, and said that if we removed the duty on raw hides he would sell those shoes for $2.975 cents. We removed the duty and he sold them for $4 a pair.
Mr. Mack. Shoes differ from our product.
TESTIMONY OF JULES FARNAN.
The witness was first duly sworn by the chairman.
Mr. Farnan. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I appear before you to show you what I consider to be the inconsistency of the present duty on imported sardines. I thought I could better illustrate my case by submitting samples, if I may, of the tins. I submit two samples, which are referred to in a brief, which both pay 1} cents dutý per tin. I submit two samples which both pay 2} cents a tin duty. I submit that the duty should be made at so much per pound.
Mr. PALMER. What clause in the bill is this—what paragraph ?
Mr. FARNAN. Paragraph 270, I believe. I submit that the duty should be so much a pound, regardless of the size of the tin. The present duty on the tin called the 21-cubic-inch tin amounts to 2.60 a pound. I think that a duty of 2 cents a pound would materially increase the sale of the goods. There is no domestic industry to protect. The only place where they can pack canned fish similar to ours is up in Maine, and the average duty we would pay on these goods would be about equal to what the Maine goods sell for. I next wish to submit the question of canned vegetables.
Mr. Rainey. Do you pack the same kind of sardines in both of these tins ?
Mr. FARNAN. Yes.
PARAGRAPH 270_FISH IN OIL.
The CHAIRMAN. You also manufacture sardines ?
The CHAIRMAN. For that purpose do you use herrings, the same as the Maine sardine?
Mr. FARNAN. No; we pack in France; we pack only sardines and fish called sprats.
The CHAIRMAN. So far as the United States is concerned, then, you are only importers ?
Mr. FARNAN. 'Simply importers.
Mr. FORDNEY. Your interest in packing sardines in France has nothing to do to influence your opinion as to the duty on these goods, has it?
Mr. FARNAN. Absolutely nothing.
Mr. FORDNEY. As a manufacturer over there you care nothing about what the duty is here!
Mr. FARNAN. I would not say that. Any manufacturer is entitled to seek a larger market for his goods, but my statement is not based on my position as a manufacturer.
Mr. FORDNEY. But upon your position as an importer!
Mr. FARNAN. These fish do not exist in this country, except on the coast of California in infinitesimal quantities.
Mr. HARRISON. No one could seriously maintain that there is any competition between real sardines and Maine herrings, could they!
Mr. FARNAN. No; none whatever.
Mr. FARNAN. Absolutely so. I wish to submit, on canned vegetables, which are dutiable, peas, mushrooms, and beans, at 24 cents per pound. I submit that the canned vegetables, which are all of about the same value, should be put on a specific duty of so much per pound, and that the duty should be reduced to 1 cent per pound, the immediate container included. That would mean about 2 cents per pound on the vegetables, as the tin and the water weigh about the same as the vegetables themselves. I believe canned vegetables are produced in this country as cheaply, at least, as they are abroad, that they need no protection, and I submit that a lower price would increase importation, increase revenue, and add to the available food supply of this country. In the last few years, of peas (which is the largest article canned); the supply has been smaller than the demand, which has resulted in higher prices and a comparative scarcity.
Mr. HARRISON. We have a very large export trade in canned vegetables. Those evidently do not include peas?
Mr. FARNAN. As far as peas are concerned there are hardly enough for our home consumption.
Mr. HARRISON. What kind of canned vegetables do we export to the extent of nearly $2,000,000 a year?
Mr. FARNAN. I could not answer that question. I am not in the export business.
The CHAIRMAN. Your time is up.
PARAGRAPH 270-FISH IN OIL.
Mr. FORDNEY. I should like to ask him just one question, if you please, Mr. Chairman. As I understand you there are no sardines packed in this country?
Mr. FARNAN. With the exception of an infinitesimal quantity. Mr. FORDNEY. Which would not cut any figure on the market? Mr. FARNAN. None whatever.
Mr. FORDNEY. Your object, then, in having a lower duty on sardines would be for two purposes-one to induce people to consume more sardines and increase your exports as a manufacturer in France and increase your sales in this country as a merchant ?
Mr. FARNAN. Is that your question?
Mr. FARNAN. No; the main point in my demand is to have a more equitable duty placed on those goods. As I have shown you, a 9-cubic-inch tin pays the same duty as a 21-cubic-inch tin. If it is the idea of your committee not to reduce the duty, I have nothing to say; but let the duty be made by the pound and all tins be equal on the present tariff, if that is the idea of the committee.
Mr. RAINEY. How much do the contents of one of these large tins weigh?
Mr. FARNAN. Twenty-one cubic inches.
Mr. FARNAN. That would weigh 435 grammes, which would be close to 1 pound. A pound is 454 grammes. It would be about 15
Mr. Hill. What fish do we export packed in oil ?
Mr. FARNAN. This would be Maine sardines-so-called sardines, which are really herrings.
Mr. Hill. Packed in oil ?
Mr. FARNAN. I am not in the export business, and I could not answer that. Mr. Hill. That is the report here, anyway,
Mr. Rainey. Do you bring any of those Maine sardines—any of those alleged sardines-back after they are put in oil?
Mr. FARNAN. No.
Mr. Hill. The figures show we imported $3,466,000 of fish packed in oil-bottles, kegs, tins--and exported $4,969,000. I do not know whether it means sardines.
Mr. FARNAN. Those Maine sardines are all the way from 2 to 5 cents a can. That is about the average price of them.
Mr. PALMER. We export salmon, do we not?