« AnteriorContinuar »
TESTIMONY OF GEN. HERMAN STABER, REPRESENTING THE
GERMANIA IMPORTING CO., OF NEW YORK CITY.
The witness was duly sworn by the chairman.
Mr. STABER. I am connected with the Germania Importing Co., of New York, dealers in foreign papers principally. We also handle some domestic papers. Before this committee I also appear in behalf of other firms whose names are attached to the brief I have filed here.
The remarks I wish to make relate to Schedule M, and will be from the standpoint of a dealer, I may almost say from the standpoint of a consumer, because we buy any and all kinds of papers as long as we can make a profit in handling them. Consequently I might say that my views on the subject of duties on paper are from a fair standpoint, as it makes no difference to me what the duty is so long as I can handle the paper.
Now, as regards print paper, that subject has been thoroughly thrashed out before your committee. So far as I know, high-grade papers are exported from the United States. The gentleman who was here just before me, Mr. Wheelwright, that is, the firm he represents, is represented in London, has a selling agency there, at least it is advertised that way. Also, there are
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). Do they sell their paper abroad?
Mr. STABER. Evidently, because their firm is advertised in London as having a selling agency there. Then there is a great deal of print paper used which is coated. That has been absolutely excluded from the United States, as it is dutiable at 5 cents a pound under the coated-paper paragraph. Then on tissue paper the duty is 6 cents a pound, so that only high-grade tissue papers are imported. The ordinary tissue paper in the United States is sold from 4 cents a pound upward. The next is in relation to papers with coated surfaces. Mr. Williams went thoroughly into that subject, and I agree with him in everything he said there, except I think 50 per cent ad valorem is too high a duty. Then we get down to papers, including wrapping paper, with the surface decorated. That has a duty of 41 cents per pound. It costs less than 3 cents per pound with lines or so-called felt marks, and if it comes in it has to pay the prohibitive duty of 44 cents per pound, equal to 150 or 160 per cent.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you mean by "felt marks ?”
Mr. STABER. Well, I have a sample here which will show that very plainly [handing sheet of paper to the chairman). This is a sheet that the customouse has held as being a decoration.
Mr. FORDNEY. Are you familiar with the American and foreign cost of making these papers ?
Mr. STABER. No, sir; I speak from the standpoint of a merchant.
Mr. FORDNEY. When you say the tariff is too high you say that without knowing the difference in the cost of production?
Mr. STABER. According to the census figures, as to the cost of production, there were $300,000,000 worth of paper produced in the United States, and the wages which they claimed they paid amounted to $40,000,000; that is, 13 per cent. Now, the other costs of production, that is, in Europe, with the exception of Scandinavia, are not as cheap—the coal and the cheap water power that the United States has. * The difference is altogether, I should say, in labor, and the total amount of labor was 13 per cent, and the amount of the duties on the paper is 50 per cent, being prohibitive.
Mr. FORDNEY. You have already said you did not know the difference in the labor cost here and abroad.
Mr. STABER. I know it costs no more to produce that paper with the felt marks than it does to produce it without the felt marks.
The CHAIRMAN. And you say the total cost of producing that paper with the felt marks is how much?
Mr. STABER. You can buy it for about 37 cents a pound.
Mr. STABER. On the plain wrapping paper 35 per cent, and on that paper, with the felt marks, 41 cents a pound, which is equal to 150 per cent or 160 per cent.
Mr. FORDNEY. Has the price to the consumer gone up since the adoption of the existing tariff law?
Mr. STABER. On that particular grade?
Mr. FORDNEY. Yes.
Mr. STABER. It is not imported under the duty of 44 cents & pound.
Mr. FORDNEY. Do you mean to say it is not being used at all ?
The CHAIRMAN. You mean there is no importation of that paper by American merchants; that the foreign importers of that paper were excluded, that is, the tariff excluded foreign importations
Mr. Staber. Yes, sir; it excluded the importation of all that paper.
Mr. FORDNEY. If this sold for 3 cents a pound, and the duty is 41 cents per pound, how does it happen that none is being used ?
Mr. STABER. Because the people will use a wrapping paper they can buy for 3 cents or 4 cents a pound.
Mr. FORDNEY. And that will answer the same purpose ? Mr. STABER. Yes, sir. Mr. FORDNEY. Well, that is an entirely different proposition. They are not going to pay a high price for paper of that kind when they can get a cheaper article for less money that will answer the same purpose.
Mr. STABER. But they would prefer buying an attractive looking paper at the same price.
Mr. FORDNEY. Oh, yes. If you could buy a silk hat for 10 cents you would buy it rather than buy a cheap hat for 10 cents.
Mr. STABER. I certainly would.
The CHAIRMAN. What you mean to say is that the American people have been forced, by reason of the excessive tariff that has been put on this particular paper, to buy an unattractive paper, whereas they could have bought this more attractive paper at the same price?
Mr. STABER. Yes, sir.
Mr. STABER. Then I get to the subject of parchment papers, and grease-proof and imitation parchment papers, about which Mr. Riegel just spoke. Now, under the Dingley Bill parchment paper, and grease-proof and 'imitation parchment paper, paid a duty of 25 per cent ad valorem. Only one maker manufactured it. The Hartford City Paper Co., under the 25 per cent ad valorem duty, had the entire western market in their control, that is, before the Hartford City Paper Co. commenced manufacturing we sold to the packers in the West and to the large dealers; after they started manufacturing we could not sell a pound to the big meat packers or the big consumers in the West, and our business was a peddling business here in the East. Now, if they prospered under a 25 per cent ad valorem duty it does not seem just that the duty should be raised to 2 cents a pound and 10 per cent, which is equal to approximately 50 per cent or 60 per cent duty. The importations of these papers are falling off gradually, and in the last six months they have fallen off very much, and if this duty is continued the importations will stop altogether.
Mr. FORDNEY. That is an indication that this article is being produced in this country and that the tariff law has proven beneficial.
Mr. STABER. The tariff law has been beneficial to the manufacturer, of course; we all admit that; but so far as the consumer is concerned, it has not been beneficial. The Democratic Party, I believe, has determined that the consumer has some rights.
Mr. FORDNEY. We will give the consumer all the rights and have the production here rather than abroad.
Mr. STABER. I am an American citizen and my standing, my moral standing, is as good as anybody's, and my honest conviction is that any legitimate American manufacturer can compete with the world, tariff or no tariff.
Mr. FORDNEY. In the brief filed by the National Association of Employing Lithographers it appears that the labor cost of pressmen as between the United States and Germany shows a difference of 28 per cent and you contend that under those conditions Americans could compete with them?
Mr. STABER. Yes, sir. Mr. Redfield, I think, stated that in Japan he saw them driving piles with women and that they paid them 2 cents a day, and he said he would rather pay an American engineer $10 a day and that he could drive those piles cheaper.
Mr. FORDNEY. Is it your idea that American women should drive piles the same as they do in Japan, instead of employing American engineers ?
Mr. STABER. I did not say that. I said that an American laborer at $10 a day could beat these Japanese women at 2 cents a day.
Mr. PAYNE. Did I understand you to say that you got that authority from Mr. Redfield ? Mr. STABER. I believe I read that as a statement by Mr. Redfield. Mr. PAYNE. Mr. Redfield, the Member of Congress ? Mr. STABER. Yes, sir. Mr. FORDNEY. He is on the Democratic side of the House, is he not? Mr. STABER. Yes, sir.
Mr. PAYNE. I have been to Japan myself, and have seen those people work, and you can not tell me what Redfield said and have me believe it, if he says that.
Mr. HARRISON. You must not mind Messrs. Payne and Fordney, our friends upon the committee, because they stand on the burning deck whence all but they have fled.
Mr. STABER. Then I come to the next section; that dealing with so-called imitation parchment papers, which are supposed to be the same as glazine papers, only not calendered. Germany is the only country which produces glazine paper in any quantity. Now, the Warren Parchment Co., not the Warren Manufacturing Co., is selling to-day imitation parchment paper at 44 cents a pound, and I contend that if imitation parchment paper can be sold at 47 cents per pound the glazine paper should be sold at 41 cents, but none is sold at that figure, consequently 2 cents a pound and 10 per cent duty is enormous.