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production of a commodity largely used and which, for a great number of our population, is one of prime necessity.
Containers--i. e., bottles or jugs-at present subject to a duty of 40 per cent, should be assessed with a specific and not with an ad valorem rate and exempted from duty when bearing the brand or the name of the manufacturer in such manner that it can not be removed, thus rendering the containers unfit for further commercial use.
Olive oil for mechanical or manufacturing purposes, rendered unfit for use as food by such means as shall be satisfactory to the Secretary of the Treasury and under such regulations as he shall prescribe, should be continued on the free list, where it has been under previous tariffs, this being a raw material required for the textile mills (which used in 1908, according to T. S. Todd, 1,610,000 pounds of castile soap manufactured from olive oil) as well as for the soap and leather manufacturers. A duty on such, however small, would necessarily react in an increase in the cost of the products of said manufacturers, which enter largely into the consumption of the masses.
Castile soap.-Upon this commodity, which is especially popular among consumers, originating from countries where olive oil is
produced, this article being manufactured from low-grade olive oil or olive roots and being demanded for its special features largely by a class of consumers of small means, who should not be burdened with a high duty on an article so promotive of the hygienic habit of cleanliness, the present duty of it cents per pound should be lightened, considering the advantage already enjoyed by the manufacturers in getting the raw material necessary for its making, free from duty.
The proposed duty of 15 per cent ad valorem, or not less than 1 cent per pound, contained in H. R. 20182, is ample protection to the domestic manufacturer, who sells his article at a lower price than the importer, still making more than a fair profit, while the imported article can not compete advantageously, as far as cost goes, with the domestic soaps, and can hold its own only through its superior quality and the small margin of profit by which it is sold.
Crude glycerin.--The wide and ever-increasing use of glycerin in the manufacture of nitroexplosives, in the finishing of leather, in the curing of tobacco, in printing and dyeing, in the preparation of liquors, toilet articles, and medicines, and also for mechanical purposes, shows how this article is so identified, not only with the important domestic industry of its refinery (with a production, according to the census of 1909, of 17,000 tons, not including the glycerin consumed in the establishments where made, which brings the consumption to an estimated total of 40,000 tons), but with so many branches of our industrial life that it is essential the importation of crude glycerin should not be burdened with a higher rate than the present, of 1 cent per pound, especially considering the increased cost of the raw material that has ruled of late years.
This chamber, therefore, recommends that the present rate on crude glycerin remain unchanged.
Medicinal compounds.-The rates of duty on articles used for medicinal purposes and considered vital to health should be materially reduced.
At present medicinal preparations containing alcohol are taxed at 55 cents per pound, a rate equivalent to over 60 per cent ad valorem,
which is exorbitant, the alcohol in said preparations being used solely as a solvent and means of preservation for the essential therapeutic constituents.
As this class of goods includes medicines essential, either as preventative against or curative of many kinds of illnesses to which the poor people, and especially those living in unhealthy climates, are more subject, owing to the less hygienic conditions and absence of comfort under which they are obliged to live, a reduction of the present rate of 55 cents per pound to 10 cents per pound and 20 per cent ad valorem, equivalent to about a 30 per cent duty, such as contemplated by H. R. 20182, is strongly recommended; also the reduction of the rate on other medicinal preparations n. s. p. f. from 25 to 15 per cent.
In the latter paragraph is included mannit, a product not manufactured in the United States, which is becoming of wider use among a numerous class of our population as a gentle cathartic, and also finds employment in the manufacture of nitroexplosives.
On calcined magnesia, a medicinal article of wide use, at present subject to a rate of 7 cents per pound, equivalent to about 44 per cent ad valorem, the duty should be reduced at least 50 per cent, i. e., to 34 cents per pound, as proposed in H. R. 20182.
The United States already holds an important position in the manufacture of magnesia salts and is not wanting in natural advantages in this direction. Magnesite, the raw material from which this article is manufactured, notwithstanding the large proportion in which it is imported, is mined in large quantities on the Pacific coast, and, with the opening of the Panama Canal and the possibility of lower freights, this mineral will be able to reach the eastern centers of manufacturé in competition with the imported.
The small amount of calcined magnesia imported (57,393 pounds in fiscal year 1910) shows that in the production of this article this country has nothing to fear from the foreign article.
Calomel is another indispensable therapeutic article, now subject to a duty of 35 per cent, the duty on which should be reduced, as proposed in H. R. 20182, to 15 per cent.
This, as other mercurial therapeutic compounds, is manufactured in the United States (which have the advantage of a notable production of quicksilver) in quantities sufficient to cover, and probably above, the requirements of consumption, so that in this case protection is not only superfluous but unadvisable, the rate of 15 per cent contained in H. R. 20182 being hereby indorsed.
Perfumery.The prevailing idea that the articles included under this paragraph are luxuries, while a good many of them, such, for instance, as hair lotions, mouth, skin, and teeth applications, are only articles of ordinary comfort, indispensable for reasons of hygiene and cleanliness, which should not therefore be placed outside the reach of even the consumer of small means, have caused the enactment of the present exorbitant duties, especially on alcoholic perfumery, subject to 60 cents per pound and 50 per cent ad valorem, while nonalcoholic is charged 60 per cent.
These practically prohibitive rates for many of the imported articles, which are not necessarily luxuries, but demanded simply by
reason of confidence acquired from long usage and attachment to a particular brand, have defeated their purpose both as a revenue measure, because they have not stimulated importations, and as a protective measure, because the exclusion of many articles of foreign perfumery, represented by proprietary or patent brands, by a duty that increases their cost often 100 per cent, has not benefited domestic production, by reason of the proprietary character of the imported articles, of which the high rates discouraged importation.
This chamber is of the opinion that it would be in the interest of revenue to reduce the duties on these commodities to more reasonable rates, because the increased importations thus stimulated, without injuring domestic production, would increase the revenue. The foreign article, owing to its proprietary or patented character, does not compete with the domestic. It therefore recommends that the duty on alcoholic perfumery be fixed at 60 cents per pound and 25 per cent ad valorem, and on nonalcoholic perfumery, in the production of which the United States possesses natural advantages, because of abundance of some of the necessary materials (fats, soap, glycerin, powders, etc.) 40 per cent ad valorem, as it was in the Wilson tariff.
Sulphur.-It would be superfluous to dwell upon the advisability of maintaining crude sulphur on the free list, when the extensive use of this mineral, especially in the manufacture of gunpowder, in the bleaching of wood pulp and textile fibers, in the vulcanizing of rubber, in the making of fumigating sticks, matches, etc., in the manufacture of sulphuric acid where the pyrites are not economically obtainable, in medicinal use, etc., is considered.
The United States have become, since the beginning of the last decade, largely productive of this mineral, the output of the Louisiana sulphur deposits being so important (in 1908 the production was estimated at 369,444 tons) as to easily cover domestic consumption, so that the importations from Sicily, which up to 1902 were the principal source, having supplied in that fiscal year as much as 163,571 tons, have since fallen off to a paltry 8,753 tons in fiscal
The cost of production of the Louisiana brimstone, although not stated for recent years, is, owing to the ingenious mining method by which it is extracted, much lower than in the case of the sulphur mined in Sicily, where, besides other disadvantages, a considerable amount of sulphur ore has to be burned and is therefore lost in the process of extraction.
Not only is the cost of production of brimstone lower in Louisiana than in Sicily, but the domestic brimstone is obtained at a higher degree of purity.
The United States are already exporting more sulphur than they import (in fiscal year 1910, 45,595 tons, against 29,329 imported), which shows that in the production of this mineral this country enjoys natural and technical advantages to render any protection not only superfluous but dangerous, as certainly over 95 per cent of the production is controlled by one concern.
Most of the Sicilian sulphur imported into the United States is used in the manufacture of gunpowder and in bleaching wood pulp,
the latter especially an industry which appeals for free raw materials, owing to the wide scope of its bearing on the economic life of the Nation.
Refined sulphur, which under the present tariff is taxed $4 per ton, should, for like reasons, be placed on the free list, but especially so in order to avoid in future a repetition of the unsuccessful attempt that was made about a year ago to have the purer grades of brimstone classified as refined sulphur and thus made subject to duty.
This chamber, therefore, recommends that sulphur in any form be exempted from duty. Tatc.
This article, which under the present tariff is admitted free of duty only in a crude or unground condition, is subject to a duty of 35 per cent when ground.
Although talc is produced largely in the United States (about 120,000 tons annually), the quality of the domestic talc, chiefly fibrous and used as a filler in paper making and in paints, is different from the imported, which serves, as a rule, a different purpose. The notable difference in cost between imported talc-selling, the Italian from $35 to $40 per ton and the French from $15 to $25— and domestic talc, selling as low as $9 at the mine, shows clearly the difference in the quality and principal use of the two articles.
The imported talc is used chiefly in the preparation of toilet powders, which, on account of their extensive use among all classes, can not be considered a luxury, but an article of necessity in the household.
For this purpose whiteness and fineness are required in the talc, and these qualifications the imported article possesses in a greater measure than the domestic, to which it is therefore preferred.
The consumption of ground talc is increasing with the increase of population.
In the Dingley tariff ground talc was taxed at the rate of 20 per cent. The act of 1909 increased the impost to 35 per cent, with the result that importations, which had averaged annually in the previous three years about 16,833,000 pounds, fell in the following two years to about 15,518,000 pounds, showing that the increase of duty was responsible for the falling off of importations, and therefore of revenue, on this article.
This chamber respectfully recommends that talc in a crude or unground condition be maintained on the free list, while the duty on ground talc be reduced to 15 per cent.
Sienna.-The importance of lightening fiscal burdens on pigments required in the preparation of paints, which absolve not only an esthetic function, but the more important one of preserving and securing a longer duration of the materials to which they are applied, is self-evident and in line with the policy of conservation, so much insisted upon in these days, when the consequences of a wasteful past of many national resources are beginning to be felt.
Sienna earths, Jike umbers and ochers, enter in paints used principally for staining wood. They are imported chiefly in the crude state and powdered here and made ready for use.
American mines produce a lower grade of sienna than the imported article, as shown by the marked difference in price. While domestic
sienna is quoted from $50 to $60 per ton, the imported sells from $80 to $140.
At present crude sienna earth, i. e., when not powdered, washed, or pulverized, is subject to a duty of one-eighth of 1 cent per pound.
The milling of imported sienna gives employment to American labor, a reason which, together with the fact that raw material of this class can not be replaced by domestic production, ought to be sufficient to exempt it from duty.
Should, however, a duty be deemed unavoidable for revenue purposes, this chamber recommends that the present specific ratē be maintained in preference to the proposed 10 per cent ad valorem contained in H. R. 20182, and also that the word "washed" be omitted from the first portion of paragraph 47, Schedule A, of the present tariff, because a considerable part of the sienna earth imported in lumps is naturally washed and should not thereby be made to incur the classification of powdered or artificially washed sienna, and thus be subjected to the higher rate of three-eighths of 1 cent per pound, without having undergone any process that has materially enhanced its value.
As in the case of the crude sienna, in that of the powdered also, a specific rate, as in the present tariff, is preferable to an ad valorem rate.
BRIEFS SUBMITTED BY TARTAR CHEMICAL CO.
The Tartar Chemical Co. filed the following papers with the committee:
RATES OF DUTY ON TARTARIC ACID AND CREAM OF TARTAR.
(Tartar Chemical Co., manufacturers of cream of tartar and tartaric acid, No. 135 William Street.)
New York, January 2, 1913. COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. Sirs: In relation to the proposed increase in duty on our raw material and the decreases in the duties on our manufactured products, we desire to meet your com mittee in a right spirit and to ask you to consider the following:
Assuming that bill H. R. 20182 may serve as basis of the new tariff legislation, it is stated in Paragraph I, to reduce tartaric acid to 3 cents per pound against the existing rate of 5 cents and the Dingley tariff rate of 7 cents; Paragraph IX, to reduce cream of tartar to 24 cents per pound against the existing rate of 5 cents and the Dingley tariff rate of 6 cents; Paragraph XI, to increase the duty on argols from 5 per cent (present rate) to 10 per cent (or 100 per cent increase).
Argols are the crude material from which the two above-named products are made in this country, and of which at least 98 per cent must be imported from wine-producing countries-principally France and Italy.
We produce cream of tartar and tartaric acid in such proportions that the average duty would be 2.7 cents per pound, from which must be deducted the duty on the raw material of 10 per cent, and this, at the present price of argols, would be 1.7 cents, leaving an apparent protection of 1 cent per pound, which the foreign manufacturer can far more than offset in the lower cost of his raw material, in addition to which he has the far lower cost of all classes of labor, which in the competing countries is onehalf of what we pay, and in some cases even less than half.
Under the present tariff the foreign manufacturers have an advantage of at least 4* cents per pound on cream of tartar and 6 cents on tartaric acid, but with the proposed increase of duty on raw material it will be over 5 cents on cream of tartar and 6+ cents on tartaric acid.
1. They use a lower testing grade of crude material, which will not bear transportation here because of chemical disintegration before it could be brought here and