« AnteriorContinuar »
CALFSKINS TANNED, OR TANNED AND DRESSED.
Present rate, 15 per cent ad valorem. Rate we propose, same as sole leather, 5 per cent, or free, if shoes are to be free.
Why.-Revision should be same as sole leather or at least same rate as shoes.
Raw material.-Hides, calfskins, and goatskins are free. Rate on sole leather made from hides is 5 per cent. Therefore on upper leather made from hides and calfskins the rate should be the same.
Discrimination against American shoe manufacturer.-Shoes made from imported patent and upper leathers are admitted at 10 per cent.
At the same price.-More shoes can be made from a certain amount of domestic patent or upper leathers than from the imported patent and upper leathers.
Besides “Farmers' free list bill," to offset free shoes, proposed that shoe vamps and shoe uppers enter free. American shoe manufacturers would not be benefited because several hundred different lasts, patterns, and styles are used in the manufacture of shoes.
Detrimental to American labor.--If practical, free shoe vamps and shoe uppers would curtail labor and deprive and injure the American shoe cutter and shoe fitter.
Comparisons as to cost of labor.- The domestic article is acid tanned, taking not over one month to finish. The imported article is bark tanned, taking from five to eight months to finish.
By difficult process, considerable more expense is required to make the rough or flesh side smooth of the imported article, whereas the domestic article is finished on the grain or natural smooth side.
Revenue.—The present rate more than protects; it excludes: Importations, patent leather, year ending June 301900.
$1, 270, 214.00 1906.
197, 140.80 1912.
160, 193.00 Importations, tanned calfskins, year ending June 30— 1899.
285, 836.00 1905.
188, 164. 00 1912.
129, 344.00 Whereas fully 90 per cent of the above importations were used in shoes, domestic patent leather, during the same years, increased by over $25,000,000 annually. Over 99 per cent of patent leather used in the United States is American made.
Also, during 1912, at least $50,000,000 worth of upper leather, made from calfskins, was used in the United States. About 994 per cent of upper leather made from calfskins was tanned in the United States.
Important.--Scores of original letters from American shoe manufacturers were sent former Chairman Payne, and should be on file, which favor a substantial reduction and substantiate most of the statements contained herein.
Reciprocity.--Imported patent leather and upper leather made from calfskins come mostly from Germany and France, who buy ten times more upper leather from the United States than they export to the United States.
30 Ferry Street, New York, N. Y. D. WALLERSTEIN,
34 Spruce Street, New York, N. Y. CHRISTMAN, WOLFENSTEIN & SHANAHAN,
39 Spruce Street, New York, N. Y.
NEW YORK, N. Y., February 4, 1913. ADDITIONAL OR SUPPLEMENTARY BRIEF.
Patent, japanned, varnished, or enamel leather.-Present rate: Weighing not over 10 pounds per dozen, 15 per cent ad valorem and 27 cents per pound; weighing over 10 pounds and not over 25 pounds per dozen, 8 per cent ad valorem and 27 cents per pound. Rate we propose: Same as sole leather, 5 per cent; at least same as shoes, 10 per cent, or free if shoes are to be free. Equivalent to 29} per cent ad valorem.
Calfskins tanned, or tanned and dressed.-Present rate: 15 per cent ad valorem. Rate we propose: Same as sole leather, 5 per cent, or free if shoes are to be free.
Consumption.-Fully 95 per cent of the importations of both of these articles is used exclusively in the manufacture of shoes absolutely and positively. Free shoe vamps or shoe uppers or any other forms used in the manufacture of shoes will not benefit the American shoe manufacturers or consumers.
The combined importations year ending June 30, 1912, of shoe vamps or shoe uppers or any other forms made of patent, japanned, varnished, or enamel leather and calfskins tanned, or tanned and dressed, amounted to only $3,969. Joker: Rates recommended in brief submitted to the committee by the National Association of Tanners of the United States, that on flesh-side finished patent leather the duty should be 4 cents per square foot and 10 per cent ad valorem. This rate is equivalent to about 254 per cent ad valorem. There is no grain-finished patent leather imported into the United States.
30 Ferry Street, New York City. D. WALLERSTEIN,
34 Spruce Street, New York City. CHRISTMAN, WOLFENSTEIN & SHANAHAN,
89 Spruce Street, New York City.
BRIEF OF THE GEORGE A. SHEPARD & SONS CO., BETHEL,
BETHEL, Conn., January 24, 1913. Hon. E. J. Hill, Washington, D. C.
DEAR Sir: We herewith submit a sample representing the labor of preparing, tanning, and finishing a complete hat sweat band.
There is no trust in this product, and the fierce domestic and foreign competition holds the profit at a low basis.
There are large and increasing importations of hat sweat leather, both in the finished skin and in the sweat bands, under the present rate of duty.
The wages paid on this work in foreign countries range from 50 cents to $1.50 per day, and the corresponding wages in this country on the same product range from $1.25 to $3 per day, which is none too much for decent American living. Any lowering of the selling price of imported hat sweat bands must disastrously affect the wages of labor, if an effort is made to retain the business in this country.
An increase of importation not only means lower wages in the face of present high living costs, but it means a decreased amount of obtainable work and great hardship will be imposed by loss of business by any decrease of the rate of duty.
We submit that as a foundation principle, there should be an American living wage,” not a European living wage, derived from all goods produced in America.
On account of the strong domestic competition no additional cost would be put upon hat sweat leather bands now made in this country if the duty were raised, but an advantage would accrue to the country by an increase of business if a large part of the sweat bands now imported were manufactured in America.
A working knowledge of conditions as above stated is convincing that the present duty is so low that the American workmen and manufacturers have to surrender too much of business and work to the man across the water. Purchases made in America helps America. Money spent in Europe hurts American workingmen and manufacturers.
We respectfully ask, for our employees and ourselves, that we be permitted to continue the business upon an American (not a foreign) standard of living, and that the present rate of duty be retained.
We indorse the “brief” upon leather submitted to Hon. Oscar W. Underwood, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee by the National Association of Tanners. Respectfully, yours,
The Geo. A. SHEPARD & Sons Co.,
BRIEF OF NORMAN H. PARKE, GENERAL MANAGER OF THE
BLACK HORN LEATHER CO.
Oscar W. Underwood, chairman, and gentlemen of the Ways and Means Committee,
House of Representatives. GENTLEMEN: Anent the subject of duty on chamois skin now fixed at 20 per cent ad valorem under the provision of the tariff act 1909, section 451, your committee is respectfully urged that there be no reduction on this item under the proposed tariff legislation. Submitted herewith are some reasons in support of such a request. The duty on chamois leather now fixed at 20 per cent under the existing law provides a margin under which it has been possible for chamois manufacturers after years of constant efforts to systematize the business, and with the assistance of machinery designed almost entirely by ourselves to show a margin of profit on our production of genuine chamois leather. This satisfactory result has been reached within a comparatively short period of time, and should the tariff be removed or materially reduced it would destroy the fruits of our efforts and deprive the workmen of our shops the opportunity of continued employment in lines with which they have become familiar and where they are most efficient. On the basis of 20 per cent duty, if no radical change should occur in the raw-ykin market it would onable the Black Horn Leather Co. to continue its manufacturing as the largest industry in Susquehanna County, Pa., but it is not apparent how it would be possible for us to equalize conditions whereby the business might be continued should there be a reduction of this rate of duty.
Chamois leather, unlike other commodities with which it is classed, is a finished article. It is not alone a tanned but it is a manufactured article, and is as ready for the market as a complete pair of shoes. It has its place, without the necessity of additional labor, in nearly every well organized household, and therefore should not come under the head of flat leather, but as an article of manufacture from leather.
As the tariff has stood on a 20 per cent basis ad valorem there have been tremendous quantities of chamois imported into this country annually, and part at 10 per cent under our market, which is an absolute proof that 20 per cent ad valorem duty on chamois is not only not excessive but is not sufficient to properly protect the manufacturers of genuine chamois, tanned leather in the United States, and should be increased to 30 per cent ad valorem. This has been further proved in past history. Numerous efforts have been made to compete in this line with the foreign markets, and in nearly every case the industry has proved an absolute failure, for the all-important reason that the comparative wages paid outside of the United States are not more than one-third of the average wages paid for labor in this country; and our labor, in comparison with other manufacturing industries in this country, is at the minimum rate. As before stated, if it were not for the careful arrangement of labor and assistance we have been able to derive from machinery, we would be unable to continue the business. In other words, we are handling our stock at the minimum cost, and under this proper development we have but a small margin in meeting, as we do, the market price of the imported chamois, and at times the European interests are able to manipulate the market, so that under the 20 per cent duty ad valorem we are forced to handle large quantities of stock at cost and at less than cost of production.
It is clearly a case dependent upon a scale of wages, which scale if placed on a par with the European wage scale, which is impossible, would permit us to manufacture at as low a figure as the European manufacturer.
All sheepskins suitable for chamois leather (the term chamois for a number of years having been a technical term illustrative of the method of tannage) are imported from foreign countries. The native stock is not suitable for chamois leather, owing to the climate or some other cause which we are unable to define. In the manufacture of chamois leather it is necessary to split off the outside of the pelt, namely, the grain or skiver of the pelt, leaving a fibered surface on both sides of the raw material to be put into chamois, and the grain or skiver is not chamois tanned, but is bark or extract tanned, and has a definite market value for bookbinding, pocketbook, hat-sweat, and other light leathers.
The native stock is tanned and manufactured in the full pelt as taken from the sheep, as it is impossible to split same, owing to its character, and realize the necessary value for the grain and have left a flesher for chamois that would be suitable for chamois. Not only would the flesher be of inferior and in every way undesirable value for chamois, but from the original nature of the pelt the grain or skiver is porous, and when split the pores of the skin, being deep, go clear through the grain, or, in other words, cause pinholes in the grain, making the grain or skiver of poor value. Summing up these two values in flesher and in skiver, we are unable to use the native stock,
because this same pelt has a considerable better value in its full state for shoe and other leathers.
We are therefore dependent on the foreign market for our raw material, which market is giving us, even on the present basis, a difficult problem in competition. This can be definitely verified, as before stated, as industries of this nature have been commenced and large amounts of money spent in the development at various times, but died out owing to the competition of the foreign goods, which are produced with labor at one-third of what we pay, in additicn to the advantage the European market has in the procuring of raw stock.
You will appreciate that with the competitive condition outlined and our dependence on the foreign market for raw material, we are placed at a tremendous disadvantage. In other words, as to the importation of our raw material, the foreign market is controlled by our foreign competitors.
In the process of tanning genuine chamois leather Newfoundland cod oil is largely used, and upon it a duty of 8 cents per gallon is imposed. On the present production of 2,000 fleshers per day we consume approximately 3,000 barrels of cod oil per annum. While it might inure to the temporary advantage of chamois manufacturing to have this duty on cod oil removed, we do not ask it, for the reason that we believe that it will ultimately be for the best interest of all concerned to encourage the production and manufacture of the domestic cod oil, which is now acquiring a standard as to quality, but not yet produced in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of chamois manufacturers. This oil becomes thoroughly oxidized and changed in general nature in the process of tannage. The chemical change taking place is not generally understood even by the leading chemists, but the results thereof have been clearly established as being beneficial in the use of this oxidizing oil in stuffing of upper leather, and as such is now thoroughly recognized by the tanners of good leather for shoe and other purposes.
This product or by-product, the oxidized oil, is known as moellon degras from the fact that it contains not only the oxidized cod oil but the degreased nerve tissue, and it adds strength and weight to leather as no other commodity will do.
This by-product moellon degras is produced by the foreign chamois tanner, and like many importations has had prestige over a domestic product, and in this commodity we have had, as well as in the chamois leather, a hard fight. There is something about the foreign article that from sentiment takes prestige over the domestic, and the tanner has become accustomed to place undue confidence in this article.
This condition had to be overcome in order to successfully continue the industry, as it would be absolutely impossible to lose the value of the cod oil in the tannage, and it must be marketed at nearly the cost of the cod oil. This feature of the manufacturing has played no small part in the development of the business. We have, however, been forced to market these goods at less than the intrinsic value to the upper leather tanner, owing to the prestige of the foreign market, which we can definitely state is not a fair one, as the foreign producer, because of this prestige, has been able to dilute his production so that it realizes for him a margin of profit considerably over the cost of the cod oil. This has been possible as the tanner has felt entirely dependent on the foreign market for his supply, and the foreign market in turn has taken advantage of this point, supported by the supposition that imported moellon is better than stock produced in this country. We, on the other hand, guarantee the absolute purity of our stock and by unceasing energy have been able to market our production, but only at a lower figure than our competitor abroad. We do, therefore, deserve substantial protection on this by-product as well as on the chamois leather. We should, in order to successfully continue and enlarge this industry, be in a position to compete with imported goods. There should be a substantial and definite tariff on all moellon degras, degras, and tanners' grease on the basis of percentage per pound rather than tariff percentage ad valorem, as the latter encourages dishonest billing of the goods, which can only be defined correctly by expert laboratory tests.
The chamois industry in this country is yet in its infancy. There are but 3 companies devoting their entire energies to the production of chamois, and but 10 or 15 smaller companies which manufacture chamois incidental to other activities. There is a fair opportunity to increase the amount of American production of this article, provided there be no interference with the present rate of duty, which is hardly sufficient to permit the existing concerns to compete with European manufacturers. It is respectfully urged, therefore, that no reduction in the present tariff schedule be made on that item. Respectfully, yours,
NORMAN H. PARKE, General Manager Black Horn Leather Co.
TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM ROBINSON, SR., ON BEHALF OF THE
ALPHA LEATHER CO., OF FRANKFORD, PHILADELPHIA.
The witness was duly sworn by the chairman.
Mr. ROBINSON. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I have no brief at all to submit, and only a very few remarks.
I am here in the interest of the Alpha Leather Co., of Frankford, Philadelphia. I notice on the calendar list of witnesses that gloves are stated as our line, but such is not the case, as we never made a finger of one.
My sole purpose before this committee is to ask your consideration, in making a provision in the coming tariff, for our line of imports, as there is evidently none in the present bill.
For nearly two years we have been importing from England rough split sheepskin leather, tanned but unfinished, and have been assessed on this 20 per cent ad valorem. Mr. Hull. Under which section are you speaking ?
Mr. ROBINSON. There is no section that I know of. It will come under section 451, if you can find it.
I want to impress on your minds that this is rough split sheepskin, tanned but unfinished.
On this line of imports we have to expend about 15 per cent of labor to put it in a marketable condition; yet the importer here imports the finished article, ready for sale, and only pays the same ad valorem, 20 per
cent. I have two samples here, one of the unfinished skin just as we import it, and the other a small piece which we have finished, similar to all our finished goods, and I would ask the committee if they think there is any equity in the present rating, after you see the contrast. We contend that our line should be placed on the free list, and especially so if it should be that a reduction is made on the finished goods.
This line of industry is a new venture to my firm, and is practically only in its infancy, and I am of the opinion that quite a reasonable amount of exports are made yearly from England, at least, and we would like to foster the industry if we are given a fair chance, but we can not continue under present conditions.
I will now show you the difference in the two skins.
Mr. Robinson here handed two samples of chamois to the members of the committee.
Mr. ROBINSON. Ours has to be handled from ten to a dozen times before we can get it into this finished condition. This other sample (indicating) is exactly the same leather that comes from England, finished and worked on the other side, and yet we pay the same amount ad valorem on our unfinished product-20 per cent.
Mr. HARRISON. Does not the ad valorem rate in itself mount with the value of the skin ?
Mr. ROBINSON. Yes.
Mr. HARRISON. So when it is more highly finished and after these other processes have been worked on it, it is worth more than it is in the first form and the rate is higher ?