Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

PARAGRAPH 277–GRAPEFRUIT. the number of lemons consumed in the United States, which shows there is a ready market in the United States for more than 2 lemons for every 1 produced in California and the deficiency must be imported.

Superintendents, doctors, nurses, and even the patients themselves of hospitals and other institutions, together with all practicing physicians, unite in saying lemons to-day are a necessity for the proper care and treatment of the sick and infirm. The evidence shows profits in some cases as high as 150 per cent upon cost of production is made by California growers: and

Whereas by the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of 1909 14 cents per pound duty is assessed upon all importations of lemons, enabling the California growers to obtain a still larger profit than before and forcing every consumer of lemons to pay a higher price for lemons, a necessity, not a luxury; and

Whereas for more than 50 years the State of Maine has enjoyed an export trade to ports in the Mediterranean, of fruit-box shooks ready to be nailed into boxes for oranges and lemons, to be there filled with fruit and returned to the United States, competing with Austrian manufacturers.

Maine's export business, as above, brought into that State annually hundreds of thousands of dollars, which, after the landowner had been paid for the timber, was distributed to laborers for producing and shipping the shooks,

This was foreign capital, not American capital. It was brought here to stay in circulation.

Upon the passage of the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of 1909, the foreigner feeling aggrieved at the unjust discrimination against his foreign lemons by the prohibitory duty of 1} cents per pound, discontinued his purchases of lemon-box shooks in Maine and procures his entire requirements now from Austrian manufacturers, thus depriving the Maine citizen of that business, the laborer of his employment, the manufacturer left with his mills constructed specially for that particular work, unsuited for other purposes, practically a total loss to him, representing an outlay of over $100,000 upon each plant; and

Whereas the above facts can be confirmed by reference to public documents on file with the various departments of the Government at Washington, D. C.: Be it

Resolved, That we are opposed to a duty upon lemons, and earnestly pray that congress will pass necessary legislation to abolish the duty now assessed upon them, believing that in so doing no harm will be done the California lemon growers' industry, lemons will be supplied to the consumer at lower cost, and the lemon-box-shook industry of the State of Maine will be restored with a larger volume of business than before.

We also urgently request the Representatives and Senators from the State of Maine to do their utmost in every way to bring about this result.

Voted, That a copy of the resolution relating to abolishing duty upon lemons be sent to the Ways and Means Committee of the National House of Representatives; also to each Representative and Senator in Congress from the State of Maine.

I hereby certify the above is a true copy o, records of the meeting of the Maine State Board of Trade, lield at Portland, Me., on the 21st day of September, 1911.

E. M. BLANDING, Secretary. Petitions identical with the above were filed with the committee by the following commercial bodies of the State of Maine: Boards of trade of Bath, Belfast, Camden, Clinton. Dover and Foxcroft, East Brownfield, Ellsworth, Fairfield, Gardiner, Lisbon Falls, Northeast Harbor. Portland, Rockland, Searsport, South Paris, South Portland, and Yarmouth; Bangor Chamber of Commerce, Wiecasset Business Men's Association Also from the Mansfield (Mass.) Board of Trade and the North Adams (Mass.) Mercantile Association.

GRAPEFRUIT.

TESTIMONY OF J. K. COMSTOCK, PRESIDENT OF THE EASTERN

CUBA DEVELOPMENT CO., CHICAGO, ILL.

The witness was duly sworn by the chairman.

Mr. COMSTOCK. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I represent the Eastern Cuba Development Co., of Chicago. We have developed a plantation in Cuba in which grapefruit represents about 98 per cent and ora nges the other 2 per cent. We are just now making what are practi ally our first shipments. Under the present duty

PARAGRAPH 277–GRAPEFRUIT.

we are almost prohibited from entering our American markets. Together with me in this issue are several other large growers--the Las Tunas Citrus Fruit Co., of Youngstown, Ohio; the Cuba Development Co., of Detroit, Mich.; and Mr. E. J. Phelps, of Minneapolis, Minn—and these three, together with ourselves, represent about 3,000 acres.

The present duty is 64 cents per box. The cost of production in Cuba is practically higher than the cost in Florida. Everything that we use in the way of machinery, implements, building materials, mules, etc., are imported from the United States, paying a big duty into Cuba, ranging from 25 per cent to 40 per cent.

We have a freight rate from our shipping port that is a combination rate, which I will have to give, because it is the sum of two local rates. The Cuba Railroad and the steamship company pro rate and make same 47.2 cents per box. The duty is 64 cents, which makes up a total of $1.112 for entry into New York City versus a rate from Jacksonville of 35 cents per box via water, or, all rail, 49 cents.

Furthermore, to get our fruit to interior points in the United States we have to pay, plus the handling charge at New York, the freight, which is, to Chicago and tributary points, for instance, 37 cents.

On January 2, 1913, we unloaded 2,012 boxes of grapefruit, all of which went to Chicago and points near by, the conditions being such as to render impossible a sale in New York City.

Last week we had 972 boxes in New York, and 668 of them went to Canada on account of the duty.

Now, gentlemen of the committee, our labor in Cuba is practically the same as labor in Florida. Basing these rates from Florida, the Florida grower has a little interior rate to pay to get his fruit up to Jacksonville which must be added to that 35 cents from Jacksonville, and that interior rate would vary, from various points, from 10 cents to 23 cents per box. In other words, the all-rail rate from Miami, which is the farthest point south, to New York City, is 72 cents per box. Using the combination rate, as we do, they must pay 58 cents per box as against our $1.112.

Mr. JAMES. What is the tariff rate on grapefruit now?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Sixty-four cents per box. It is 1 cent per pound less 20 per cent.

Mr. James. What was it under the Dingley bill?

Mr. COMSTOCK. One cent . per pound I believe. There was reciprocity treaty a few years ago of 20 per cent.

Mr. HARRISON. You are the president of the Eastern Cuba Development Co.?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Yes, sir.
Mr. HARRISON. Where is that located ?
Mr. COMSTOCK. The plantation ?
Mr. HARRISON. Yes.
Mr. COMSTOCK. At Las Tunas, 100 miles from the port.
Mr. HARRISON. Is that on the northern side of Cuba?

Mr. COMSTOCK. It is really on the backbone. We ship from the coast right opposite Santiago.

Mr. HARRISON. The rate of duty upon grapefruit is the same as apon oranges and limes ?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Yes, sir.

a

PARAGRAPH 277--GRAPEFRUIT. Mr. HARRISON. And that is 1 cent per pound? Mr. COMSTOCK. Yes, sir.

Mr. HARRISON. And I started to say lemons also, but I see the rate on lemons is 1} cents per pound.

Mr. COMSTOCK. Yes, sir.

Mr. Harrison. In the statistics of the Treasury Department, oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruit, shaddocks, and pomelos are all listed together, and all these importations were $26,390,000. Do you know what the importations of grapefruit into the United States were in the year 1912 ?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Very small.
Mr. HARRISON. You say they were very small ?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Yes, sir. And I think pineapples are included in that.

Mr. HARRISON. No; pineapples are not included under that head. What is the production of grapefruit in the United States?

Mr. COMSTOCK. The most of the groves in Cuba are young. We started planting in 1907, and our trees are only from 3 to 5 years old, and we are just commencing to get some fruit now.

Mr. HARRISON. Aside from your plantations are they all young?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Some of the other plantations are two or three years

older than ours. Mr. HARRISON. Is it a new industry? Mr. COMSTOCK. Yes, sir; and almost entirely by American capital.

Mr. HARRISON. Is it isolated in Cuba or is grapefruit grown in other islands of the West Indies ?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Porto Rico grows some grapefruit, and they have a rate to New York. To get from the plantation to San Juan it costs probably from 15 cents to 20 cents per box.

Mr. HARRISON. The Porto Ricans get their grapefruit into this country free.

Mr. COSTOCK. Yes.

Mr. HARRISON. And you have to pay 1 cent per pound less 20 per cent?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Yes, sir; but outside of the cost of laying from their groves into New York, which does not exceed 50 cents.

Mr. HARRISON. The unit of value upon imports of oranges, limes, grapefruit, shaddocks, and pomelos is 1 cent per pound, and from that is it your duty to tell the value of grapefruit per pound or the customhouse, and can you tell us?

Mr. COMSTOCK. The rate is 1 cent per pound.

Mr. Harrison. No; the value per pound of grapefruit imported into the United States. Do you send them in by the pound' or by the box?

Mr. COMSTOCK. They are taken by the pound; yes, sir.

Mr. Harrison. What are they worth per pound before you pay the duty?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Well, do you mean by worth what they will sell for in these markets?

Mr. HARRISON. At what sum are they valued in the customhouse in New York before the duty is paid ?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Well, there is no value pr upon them except by the pound. There are 80 pounds to the box.

PARAGRAPH 277–GRAPEFRUIT.

the grove.

Mr. Harrison. The customhouse takes the gross value and divides it by the rate and thus establishes a unit of value. It is not easy to decide where there is this situation whether there is a low or a high rate upon grapefruit unless they know what the unit of value is at the customhouse. Can you tell us what that is?

Mr. C'OMSTOCK. I do not quite catch your question?

Vr. HARRISON. What do you suppose grapefruit is worth per pound when you export them from Cuba? Supposing somebody came along there and bought your grapefruit at your port of export in Cuba, how much per pound would he have to pay you for them!

Mr. Comstock. They are sold entirely by the box, and the boxes average 80 pounds each.

Mr. Harrison. How much by the box?
Mr. C'OMSTOCK. They ought to sell at, we will say, $2 per box at
Mr. KITCHIN. And they weigh 80 pounds to the box?
Mr. COMBTOCK. Yes, sir.
Mr. HARRISON. That is 2} cents per pound ?
Mr. COMSTOCK. Yes, sir.

Mr. HARRISON. Grapefruit, instead of being 1} cents per pound, as the average of articles imported under section 277 of the tariff act, are worth 2} cents per pound ? Nr. CoMSTOCK. At the grove, yes. Mr. Harrison. Or at the port of New York before entry? Mr. COMSTOCK. Yes, sir.

Mr. HARRISON. The rate of 1 cent per pound is not as much as 60 per cent ad valorem?

Mr. COMSTOCK. I have the actual figures here. The average is 64 cents per box. It is 80 pounds, at 1 cent per pound, less 20 per cent, which makes 64 cents net.

Mr. HARRISON. The ad valorem upon the value at the customi house?

Mr. COMSTOCK. It is not on the value, but a flat rate.

Mr. HARRISON. Well, for what purpose is the ad valorem? It is not as much as or not more than 32 per cent?

Mr. Comstock. Yes.

Mr. HARRISON. Well, then, the rate of duty of 1 cent per pound is not as heavy upon grapefruit as it is upon the other articles in paragraph 277 is what I was trying to ascertain.

Mr. COMSTOCK. Oh, well, the point I was trying to get at is the fact that it is costing us from three to four times as much to get our commodities into our markets as it does the grower in Florida.

Mr. Harrison. Does a grapefruit weigh as much as a pound?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Some do; yes; and somo will weigh 2 pounds and as much as 3 pounds.

Mr. Harrison. Do you sell them at 2} cents per pound?

Mr. COMSTOCK. They are not sold by the pound at all, but by the box.

Mr. HARRISON. Well, we find out by a mental calculation that it is equal to 24 cents per pound ?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Yes.

PARAGRAPH 277–GRAPEFRUIT. Mr. HARRISON. You may be interested to know that I have bought grapefruit and paid as high as 85 cents for one grapefruit at the St. Regis Hotel in New York.

Mr. COMSTOCK. I do not doubt that. On the other hand, this same boat that our shipment came on brought in two other shipments, one of 492 boxes and the other of 192 boxes, and they did not bring the freight and duty.

Mr. JAMES. Do you think that to reduce the tariff would increase revenue ?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Do what? Oh, yes, it would.

Mr. JAMES. Do you think to reduce the tariff would reduce the price of grapefruit? I am just trying to get at what you wish. To reduce the tariff would it stimulate imports and reduce the price of grapefruit to the consumer, or are you just trying to get the tariff reduced so as to put the reduction into your pocket ?

Mr. Comstock. If the tariff were reduced it would put us on a competing basis with our competitors, and would give the American people a fruit that is not equaled. The peach or lemon or things of that kind do not compare with the grapefruit; in fact, there is not another fruit grown to-day that almost every physician in the United States would recommend to his patients.

Mr. James. They do not down my way; as to grapefruit, it is a luxury, of course.

Mr. COMSTOCK. Well, we are trying to grow them so that

Mr. JAMES (interposing). I am not much on grapefruit as far as I am concerned, but am trying to find out whether or not you are advocating a reduction of the tariff in order to increase revenue or to increase your profits?

Mr. COMSTOCK. No, sir; it is to meet competition and so we can live.

Mr. James. So that you may ship more grapefruit in here?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Yes, sir; so we can live. We can not ship any in at all hardly under present conditions.

Mr. James. And if we reduce the tariff you can bring them in ?

Mr. Comstock. We will be able to put into this market our grapefruit from the island of Cuba, which we can not do to-day under present conditions.

Mr. James. Of course, grapefruit is a luxury?

Mr. COMSTOCK. The highest rate from Florida points into New York City--or, I will take Chicago, all rail---is 56 cents per box, while it costs us $1.482, nearly three times as much, to get our Cuban grapefruit into that market. The Florida grower can undersell us a dollar

Mr. JAMES. Do you advocate this reduction of the tariff on the theory that grapefruit is a luxury or a medicinal necessity ?

Mr. CoMSTOCK. No, sir; but it has medicinal properties.
Mr. James. Do you think it really has medicinal properties?

Mr. COMSTOCK. Oh, absolutely so; no question about that at all. If you do not like grapefruit, but will give it a trial, you will

Mr. JAMES (interposing). Do you think it will increase my weight any if I eat grapefruit ? [Laughter.]

Mr. COMSTOCK. I do not know. I do not want to increase mine, but it will aid your digestion.

per box.

« AnteriorContinuar »