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PARAGRAPH 270_FISH IN OIL.
BRIEF OF THE SEACOAST CANNING CO., EASTPORT, ME.,
EASTPORT, ME., January 30, 1913. The WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: We desire to file the following brief in regard to tariff on sardines, which are now covered by paragraph 270, in schedule G of the Payne-Aldrich tariff bill of August 5, 1909.
The Payne-Aldrich tariff bill reduced the duty on sardines because it omitted two words after the word "oil,” this word "oil" occurring as the tenth word in paragraph 270. The two words omitted were "or otherwise" and the effect was to exempt all of this product not packed in oil from the operation of the tariff prescribed in paragraph 270. Under the operation of this tariff the imports of Norwegian sardines have increased annually, until now they have resulted in causing a heavy overproduction among the American packers for the last few years. This overproduction has naturally resulted in keeping the price down to the lowest possible limit. The price during most of the past season for a case of 100 tins of quarter oil sardines has been $1.87 net to the packer, and this is below the cost of production. The price to the consumer has remained the same, 5 cents per tin. You will see, therefore, the destructive nature of the competition now existing in the business. The Norwegian packers have lately been permitted to organize themselves into a close combination, which will result in their absolute control of prices to the importers.
There is now nearing completion at St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Dominion of Canada, about 12 miles from here, a new plant for the production of these sardines. This new plant is of the most modern construction and equipment, and has ample financial backing in the persons of the principal officials of the Canadian Pacific Railway. There is no doubt that during the coming season the Norwegian competition will be reinforced by the competition from this Canadian factory. Under the operation of the peculiar fishery laws of the Dominion of Canada this Canadian factory will have a preference as regards fish. They have a much lower schedule of labor. To substantiate this latter statement we will quote comparative wages paid girls who pack these sardines into the tins. The Canadian factory has contracted with girls from Norway, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and other districts to perform this labor for $2 per week; we have paid one of our packers as high as $34.16 for one week's work. This Canadian facto y will also be able to make its cans much cheaper because the Canadian tariff on tinplate is much below the American tariff.
It should be borne in mind that this industry of ours gives employment to a large number of people in this section of the country, and is the only reliance of these people for their support; there is no other industry' here. Employment is given to a large number of boatmen and fishermen, aside from the labor employed in the factories. The continued increase of Norwegian imports and of imports from Canada will result in a decrease of the American pack, with corresponding hardship to all classes of people in this community, because all classes are directly dependent upon this one industry. We are large users of American cottonseed oil, and a decrease in our pack would tend to result in a decreased consumption of that product.
The retail price of our sardines has never varied to any extent during the past 15 years, the price always having been 5 cents to the consumer.
If it is the desire of the committee to help this industry, which is now laboring under a selling price below the cost of production, we would suggest the restoration of the two words or otherwise,” after the word “oil," and an increase in the duty that wouli save us from the Norwegian sardine trust.
The administrative features of the Payne-Aldrich tariff bill we think can not be improved, so far as paragraph 270 is concerned; the duties applicable are very readily ascertained under the phraseology of this paragraph. Yours, truly,
SEACOAST CANNING Co.,
PARAGRAPH 270_FISH IN OIL.
BRIEF OF WM. UNDERWOOD CO. WITH REFERENCE TO DUTY ON SARDINES.
WM. UNDERWOOD Co.,
Boston, January 21, 1913. As the original packers of canned goods in this country in 1844, we wish to respectfully protest against any reduction of the present duty on sardines.
We pack the highest grade of goods in America, and they are sold here in competition with Norwegian sardines, of which several hundred thousand cases are imported
Sardines are a highly specialized food product, the fish themselves costing less than one-tenth of total cost, thus being a luxury. Sardine industry here is growing and capable of considerable further improvement if protected.
Labor costs in Norway are one-third similar costs here, and tinplates there do not have to pay our duty of $1.20 per base box.
Confirming this by mail.
WM. UNDERWOOD Co.
BRIEF OF TOKSTAD-BURGER CO., NEW YORK CITY.
Schedule G, paragraph 270, "Fish in oil.” The WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. The undersigned, importers of fish packed in oil, respectfully call attention to the serious injustice now existing under paragraph 270 as it affects this valuable food product for the poorer classes.
The present tariff schedule imposes a duty of 14 cents per package upon such foods in packages containing 7} cubic inches or less; 24 cents per package when containing more than 7} .cubic inches and not more than 21 cubic inches; 5 cents per package when containing more than 21 and not more than 33 cubic inches; and 10 cents per package when containing more than 33 and not more than 70 cubic inches.
Owing to trade conditions throughout the world, these requirements are most unjust when applied to the smaller packages, as may be shown.
During the year ending June 30, 1912, packages of fish in oil subject to the duty rate of 1} cents were imported to the extent of 34,828,218 tins, of a value of $1,679,491, and paid a duty amounting to $522,421, equal to an ad valorem rate of approximately 32 per cent.
During the same period of time fish packed in oil in tin subject to the 24 cent duty rate were imported to the extent of only 5,186,122 tins, of a value of $554,343, and paid a duty amounting to $129,659, equal to an ad valorem rate of approximately 23 per cent.
From the above it will be noted that the smaller tin paid fully 50 per cent more duty under an ad valorem rate than the larger tin, and its cost was thereby very materially increased to the consumer.
The foreign pack of fish in oil has a foreign-market value ranging from $2.50 per case of 100 tins to a value of approximately $8 per case of 100 tins, all under the7d-cubicinch requirement; and the present imposition of 14 cents per tin duty upon goods valued at from 24 to 4 cents per tin, it will be noted, is not only an excessive ad valorem rate, but raises the cost of such goods to the consumer enormously.
There is a demand for the smallest size tin of fish in oil for consumption by miners, mechanics, mill hands, railroad workers, and others, who carry their lunch to their work, but under present rates it is impossible to supply a small tin to the consumer at a less price than 71 cents per tin, whereas were the duty rate reasonably reduced the smallest tin could be supplied by the retailer to the consumer at 5 cents per tin. The approximate weights of tins submitted herewith as samples are as follows:
Grams. Smallest tin, filled with fish in oil..
100 No. 2 size, filled with fish in oil.
180 No. 3 size, filled with fish in oil.
210 No. 4 size, filled with fish in oil.
440 PARAGRAPH 270_FISH IN OIL.
It will be noted that the two smaller sizes, the one being approximately twice as large as the other, pay under the present system an equal amount of duty, while the two larger sizes, one approximately twice as large as the other, also pay an equal amount of duty. This naturally works a grave injustice.
The smallest tin, weighing appoximately 100 grams, is equal to 31 ounces; the second size (1 grams) is equal to 6 ounces; the third size (210 grams) is equal to 7 ounces; the fourth size (440 grams) is equal to 15 ounces.
If a duty of 2 cents per pound upon all of the above goods were substituted for the present rate of duty it would be eminently fairer than under the rate now existing and would permit the importation of these various sizes at such cost as to enable the same to be supplied to the consumer, especially in the smaller sizes, at a very much reduced cost.
If duty were 2 cents per pound, based on official figures of 1912:
Large tin, 21 cubic inches, equals 440 grams, or 14.6 ounces; third size, 210 grams, or 7 ounces; average, 10.8 ounces. Both of these sizes pay 24 cents per tin.
Second size, 180 grams, or 6 ounces; small size, 100 grams, or 3.3 ounces; average, 4.6 ounces. Both of these sizes pay 14 cents per tin.
One hundred cans to case larger size equals 1,080 ounces, or 671 pounds, at 2 cents per pound equals $1.35 per case; 51,861 cases imported in 1912 would equal a duty of $70,012; 100 cans to case smaller sizes equals 460 ounces, or 281 pounds, at 2 cents per pound equals $0.575 per case; 348,282 cases imported in 1912 would equal a duty of $200,262.
Such a reduction in duty rate would increase the smaller size imports enormously, since it would place the 3.3-ounce can within the reach of the general laboring millions of this country at 5 cents per can; and as a result the revenue would beyond question advance by leaps and bounds.
Why maintain so inequitable and unjust a duty rate upon the poor man's food, when canned lobster, shrimp, crabs, etc., to be eaten principally by the wealthier classes, is admitted free under paragraph 671?
The suggested duty rate of 2 cents per pound should include the usual coverings.
TOKSTAD-BURGER Co., New York
(And others). By Francis E. Hamilton, counsel, 32 Broadway, New York.
New YORK, N. Y., February 10, 1918. The WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: On behalf of my clients, the Tokstad-Burger Co. and others, I filed a brief (Hearings No. 12, p. 2732) on fish in oil,” under Schedule G, paragraph 270.
I desire to supplement the same by the following statement:
The previous brief referred only to "fish (except shellfish) by whatever name known, packed in oil, in bottles, jars, kegs, tin boxes or cans,” etc., and all the arguments and exhibits were to that end. I now wish to call the attention of the committee to the last portion of the paragraph, “all other fish (except shellfish) in tin packages, 30 per cent ad valorem, etc.'
The change prayed for in the original brief as to fish packed in oil to a lower specific rate would greatly cheapen the common food of the common people; but it is almost equally necessary that the existing ad valorem rate of 30 per cent upon “all other fish, etc.,' covered by the balance of the paragraph should also be corrected and reduced to such a rate as to permit reasonable importations.
Such a reduction would be to 15 per cent ad valorem; and the reasons supporting such a rate are as follows:
Fish other than those packed in oil are of the coarser and cheaper grades and are even more suited to and consumed by the actual poorer classes in this country than the fish packed in oil. This cheap and yet nutritious food should not be prohibited by the tariff
, and no higher rate of duty should be imposed than just sufficient to protect the labor engaged in the production of similar food in the United States. Fifteen per cent ad valorem will be a liberal rate to protect home labor, and as the
PARAGRAPH 270_FISH IN OIL.
demand for these inexpensive foods is constantly increasing, while the statistics prove that the fish catch of our own coast is annually diminishing-whether from a lack of fish or of fishermen I can not state-it is respectfully submitted that no higher duty should be imposed.
Among the thousands of imported articles, the food products are comparatively few in number, and there is a strong and ever-growing sentiment in the United States that all foods should be duty free.
Even if your honorable committee after careful consideration should fail to reach the conclusion that so sweeping a rule ought to be applied in tariff revision, I most earnestly call attention to the fact that if any foods are to be placed upon the free list the first to be so treated must be the foods of the poor. Meats are in all countries more expensive than fish, which latter furnish the staple support of life in many parts of the world where easily obtainable; and are used in enormous quantity by the laboring classes in the United States. All the fish covered by paragraph 270 are inexpensive except as made so by high duty rates; some of the fish covered by that paragraph would be the daily support of the very poor if relieved of the present heavy burden imposed by the tariff.
Many of the propositions submitted to your honorable committee are involved, affected as they are by the vested interests covering capital, labor, dividends to innocent stockholders, benefit to large sections of the country and other economic and political questions none of which surround the simple question arising under paragraph 270. Here it is only "shall the cheap food suitable to the very poorest of our people, as well as to many others, be relieved from the present exorbitant import duty or not”?
In conclusion I beg to submit two suggestions: Reform paragraph 270 by adopting a specific rate of 2 cents per pound for all fish in oil, no matter how packed; and reduce the ad valorem rate on all other fish covered by said paragraph to 15 per cent ad valorem; or
Place all fish now covered by paragraph 270 under an ad valorem duty of 15 per cent ad valorem. All of which is respectfully submitted.
(And others). By Francis E. Hamilton, counsel, 32 Broadway, New York, N. Y.
BRIEF OF LA MANNA AZEMA & FARNAN.
JANUARY 20, 1913. Hon. 0. W. UNDERWOOD,
Chairman Committee on Ways and Means, Washington, D. C. Sir: Referring to revision of the present tariff and to Schedule G, the undersigned respectfully submit the following:
FISH, EXCEPT SHELLFISH, BY WHATEVER NAME KNOWN, PACKED IN OIL IN BOTTLES,
JARS, KEGS, TIN BOXES OR CANS.
The present tariff schedules these articles at 14 cents per package containing 74 cubic inches or less.
Two and one-half cents per package containing more than 74 cubic inches and not more than 21 cubic inches.
Five cents per package containing more than 21 cubic inches and not more than 33 cubic inches.
Ten cents per package containing more than 33 cubic inches and not more than 70 cubic inches.
Trade conditions require certain sizes of packages. The present rates weigh unfairly We submit as evidence following tins:
Chaumette Fils & Co.
Both of the above pay 14 cents per tin.
We respectfully submit that in a new tariff the duty be made at so much per pound, regardless of the size of tin.
On the present duty, the 21 cubic inch tin, represented by our exhibit“Chaumette Fils & Co.,"weighs when filled 96 pounds per 100 tins; at $2.50 per 100 tins, this would amount to 2.60 cents per pound.
A duty of 2 cents per pound on all goods described above, immediate coverings included, should produce an increased revenue, by enabling uniform value regardless of dimension of tin; under the present duty the one-fourth 25-millimeter tin, our exhibit “Durkasco Brand,” which was very popular at one time, has almost entirely gone out of commerce owing to the discriminating duty, this tin having to pay the same duty as the 21 cubic inch, our exhibit“Chaumette Fils & Co."
Actual duty, 14 cents per pound; proposed duty, one-half cent per pound: Liberal average cost f. o. b. foreign ports, 55 francs per 100 kilos, or 5 cents per pound. The ocean freight is one-half cent per pound; proposed duty, one-half cent per pound; total, 1 cent. This would give the domestic manufacturer a protection of 20 per cent.
This should give a wide margin of profit to goods made in this wheat-producing country; on the other hand the reduction of 1 cent per pound on the present dut should enable larger importations, giving the Government additional revenue. PREPARED OR PRESERVED VEGETABLES (IN TINS, JARS, BOTTLES, OR SIMILAR
PACKAGES). The framers of the tariff act approved July 24, 1897, scheduled peas, beans, and mushrooins, prepared or preserved, at 21 cents per pound, the weight of immediate covering included; this effectually ended attempts at undervaluation and greatly facilitated collection of duties.
As all prepared or preserved vegetables are of about the same value, we respectfully recommend a duty of 1 cent per pound, immediate covering included in weight, considering this duty ample to conipensate any possible increased cost of labor here as compared with labor abroad.
It is our opinion canned vegetables are produced here at least as cheaply as abroad; they need no protection from an industrial point of view, and by allowing more foreign goods to come in, which can only be done by lowering the duty, the Government should increase its revenue.
The bulk of imported vegetables, which can be produced in this country, cousists of peas.
The present duty has restricted importations; a reduced duty would correct this and not hurt domestic interests. Of late years the demand for the domestic pack of peas has increased more than the production, resulting in higher prices and a comparative scarcity.
secretary; Moos & (0.; R. U. Delapenha & Co., A. Muylehan, vice
Aschi & Co.