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Consular reports, Issues 196-199 online

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Down to 1862 the Minister of Commerce was a merchant, but since that
date, the incumbent has been one of the ''hereditary foes*' of commerce and
neither by education nor inclination disposed to humor the mercantile classes.

The state treasury of Prussia is likely to suffer from the closing of the
produce exchanges, since the law for the taxation of business on these ex-
changes is so worded as apparently tp exempt from taxation business trans-
acted elsewhere than on the open exchange.

But to regard the whole matter from its widest aspect, apart from the fact
that the Government has dealt one class of Germans a direct blow by placing
members of another class as watchers and inspectors over them, the entire
movement to superintend exchanges and hedge the public from the danger
of buying doubtful bonds or getting caught in grain operations seems to
suffer from a radical disease. If the Government undertakes to make the
public quite safe when dealing on the exchanges, it must also expect that
the public will look to it for compensa?tion if anything goes wrong; if, let
us suppose, stocks and bonds are sold which turn out afterwards to be rotten,
or else grain is sold at a price far above the true market price. Having put
its own inspectors in command and hedged the business round with a tangle
of rules, stamps, formulas, and what not, the public will not see the need of
examining into the goods on its own account, but will inevitably hold the
Government responsible for any loss.


BE,KL\iif January 4 f i8gy. Consul- General.


Referring to my dispatch dated May 7, 1896, regarding the usefulness
to American commercial and industrial interests of a newspaper published
in German at Berlin or some other large German center, for the special pro-
duction of American news in trade and finance,* I have the honor to call
attention to the foundation of a German paper in Japan.

The Eastern World is a weekly paper of Yokohama which has been issued
in English in the interests of German trade by Mr. F. Schroder, a German.
The editor now announces that he will print a weekly in German, called
Deutsche Nachrichten aus Japan, his object being to inform the merchants
and manufacturers of Germany concerning trading possibilities in the far
East. Rivalry with England is the mainspring to this action, for Mr.
Schroder points out that Germans have been at a disadvantage as compared
with the English in regard to newspapers. In the three treaty ports of
Yokohama, Kob6, and Nagasaki, he remarks, there are seventeen English
papers, inclusive of post and weekly editions ; these give British merchants

*PrinUd In Comsulak Kstokts No. 189 Qixa^f ^^^)» P* S46-

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a clear picture of everything that has happened in Japan; moreover, the
British press quotes liberally from them. The German merchants, on the
contrary, must consult the organs of their rivals. He makes the assertion
that in Japan there is an English paper for every no Britons, whereas the
only German paper in eastern Asia is a weekly published in Shanghai
(Ostasiatischer Lloyd). Mr. Schroder asks for one thousand annual sub-
scribers at 1 8 marks (about ;^4.5o).

German trade with Japan during 1895 increased by $2,000,000 over
1894. German traders with China and Japan have found that these orientals
lay very great weight on details of packing, marks, and so forth, so that a
variation from a method of packing or a slight change in the marks on a
package arouses their suspicion or dislike. Hence the necessity of very
complete information on the part of the German shipper, not merely as to
the quality of the goods to be shipped, but the style and size of the packages
and the marks placed on them. A weekly newspaper could keep German
shippers informed of local tastes and materially assist them in their endeavor
to become masters of a market in which, it is true, profits are no longer
what they were, but which, owing to its enormous size (if we include China
with Japan) may furnish profitable sales.

I call attention to this weekly merely to point out that other nations see
the need of direct representation in foreign markets. Germany is neither
China nor Japan. But American merchants, manufacturers, and bankers
need all the information they can get concerning the articles that Germany
will take and the way in which Germans wish to take them, their appearance,
mode of packing, and so forth. This information can be best supplied by
a special paper published in Germany with subscribers in the United States
as well as here. Hitherto, Germans have not been willing to pay for articles
the prices that Americans and English people do ; but Germany is richer
than she was and more money is ready every year to be expended in useful
and luxurious articles. Many things, like shoes and furniture, which are
still, in many parts of Germany, made by hand, or, if made by machinery,
are not suited to people with taste, would find for a time a market here if
they were more widely known. It seems to me that a good, nonpolitical
trade journal would fill a demand which the German-American and the Ger-
man papers could not supply, even if they would,

Berlin, January ij, i8gy. Consul- GeneraL


I have the honor to transmit herewith three copies of the German Trade
Records, for the month of December, 1896, which contains, among other
material of more or less interest, an extensive report upon the foreign com-
merce of Japan during the year 1895. This report refers to the revival of
commercial confidence in July of that year, after the war with China, and

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to the support given to new industrial enterprises, especially to the manu-
facture and export of goods made from imported foreign raw materials, and,
of course, compares Germany's share of the total foreign trade with the
shares of other countries. Special attention is called to the large quantity
of raw cotton imported and to the increased use of wool, as well as the com-
paratively small amount of imported cotton yarns and articles of wearing ap-
parel of the cheaper kinds. Special attention is also called to the unexp>ected
competition met by Germany in the importation of iron nails from the
United States, and to the fact that while formerly the greatest part of the ex-
ports from Japan went to the United States, and although the United States
still receives the largest amount of many articles, Germany has, for the first
time, appeared in the Japanese statistical tables as a purchaser of certain
articles, and her share in the whole export trade is on the increase. Refer-
ence is also made to the increased value of the goods carried to and from
Japan in German vessels, Germany now having the second place in this re-
spect, while the United States comes fourth.

In this connection, I have the honor to append hereto certain notes on
German foreign trade.


Berlin, January p, iBgy. Ambassador,


German trade with Nicaragua. — ;Among the foreign residents Germany comes second
only to the United States in the number of its citizens in Nicaragua, most of whom are coffee
planters and live in the higher parts of the country. Since 1890, about 4,000,000 coffee trees
have been set out in this part of the country, some of which will soon begin to bear good
crops. A raihroad is contemplated in this part of the country and the prospects of an increase
in German trade, consequent upon the recently concluded treaty of commerce, are good. In
1895, more than half of the export of coffee went to Germany, and Germany's share in the
total export from the country was almost half. (Norddeutscher Zeitung, December 19, 1896.)

German trade with Guatemala. — In 1 895, Germany came next to the United States in
the amount of foreign goods imported into Guatemala. Germany is the largest purchaser of
coffee, the principal product of the country, and, in 1895, took almost two-thirds of the
quantity exported. The commercial development of Guatemala is made difHcult by the pre-
vailing currency conditions, there being practically no gold in the country, and the premium
on American gold having been, at the end of 1895, about ill per cent. (Norddeutscher
Zeitung, December 20, 1896.)

German export trade in iSg^-Q^ (report of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce). — The
trade with Russia, thanks to the commercial treaties, has increased in spite of certain differ-
ences of opinion in regard to the interpretation of some parts of the treaty, and of the restric-
tions placed by Germany upon the importation of cattle and meat products from Russia. The
customs war with Spain is over, but complete f)eace can only be said to have taken its place
after a " most-favored-nation " treaty shall have been made. Trade with the Spanish colonies
has, however, especially with Puerto Rico, favorably developed ; trade with Cuba has practi-
cally stopped. In Argentina, confidence is returning. Ships going to and from the country
are usually fully loaded, and. although the importation of certain articles (beer, alcohol, sugar,
etc.), which formerly took place in large quantities from Germany, has diminished, owing to

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the increased home prodaction, often through German enterprise. This has been compensated
for by the increase in the importation of other articles. As the Reichstag did not pass the
resolution to do away with the "most- favored-nation" treaty, and as the Bundesrath was not
willing to raise the duty upon dyewoods, these dangers to trade with Argentina have been

In the United States the improvement in industrial matters reported last year has not been
maintained. The uncertain interior political situation, which was increased through the im-
pending Presidential election, prevented business from being active. * *" * (National
Zeitung, January I, 1897.)

English competition should not be undervalued ; on the contrary, Germany must use all
her strength in the industrial rivalry between the two countries. German trade with South
Africa, and especially the South African Republic, has expanded. (Norddeutscher Zeitung,
January I, 1 897.)


I have the honor to report that the committee to arrange for sending
the commercial ** expedition*' to China had a meeting here on the 20th
instant, at which Privy Councilor Wermuth, who was the German commis-
sioner to the Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893, presided. At this
meeting, at which the instructions to be given to the members of the expe-
dition were discussed, all those present were convinced that the experiment
could not fail to be of value and importance to German commerce, industry,
and shipping. The members of the expedition expect to sail from Bremen
6n the 27th instant, on board the North German Lloyd steamer Sachsen.


Berlin, January 22 ^ iSgy, Ambassador,


I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a circular issued Novem-
ber 27 last by the president of the imperial canal department, in regard to
vessels passing through the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal, which was recently re-
ceived from the United States consulate at Hamburg and a copy of which
has, as I understand, not as yet been sent to the Department of State.


Berlin, January 22, iSgy. Ambassador.

Imperial Canal Department,

Kiel^ November 27 ^ i8g6.
Gentlemen: I beg to inform you that the captains of the port at Holtenau and Bruns-
bUttel have been instructed, in the interest of a more safe traffic on the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal,
strictly to enforce the following means of precaution on the entrance of vessels into the

•See CoNSUU^R Reports No. 197 (February, 1897), p. a68.

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canal sluices or previous thereto. Vessels, including those carrying a high deck cargo, are
only to be admitted under the proviso —

{a) That they have no heavy list.

(6) That the cargo has been properly stowed and secured, so as to prevent any shifting of
same in case vessels should take a list by touching the bank or by the influence of the current
(if aground and canting athwart).

(c) That the pilot is convinced that the vessel is not so badly crank as to get a heavy list
every lime the helm is shifted. This latter will especially be the case with sharp-built vessels,
carrying a high deck cargo.

(J) That the capstan and winches required for the hawsers are not covered nor blocked up
by gear, etc., so f s to allow [prevent] their immediate use.

(f) That the position of the wheel will, under all conditions, allow the helmsman to have
a free lookout forward and may also give the pilot opportunity to superintend the actions of
the former.

(/) That all ballast tanks are Blled up.

In the cases mentioned under (rt), (6), (</), and (/), vessels have to comply with these
requirements by restowing, or, better, securing their cargoes or by filling up their tanks re-
spectively, previous to entering the locks. In cases mentioned under (c) and (^), the captain
of the port shall decide what steps shall be taken for the safety of navigation — for instance,
by placing the vessels into sidings, by excluding same from passage at nighttime, by giving
them a second pilot, or ordering a tug for assistance.

It has further been ordered that vessels with heavier draft forward and vessels on even
keel are to be more carefully suf>erintended than others, as they generally steer badly.

In case the captain of the port considers it necessary, also, these vessels are to be supplied
with a tug in attendance.

I most respectfully beg to request you to inform the shipowners represented by you of
above regulations at your earliest convenience, in order to allow said firms to render instruc-
tions to their masters for permanent use and to avoid any unpleasant detentions in the dis-
patch of vessels.

For this purpose I inclose ten copies of this circular.



Some two months ago, the export tax or duty on coriander seed from
Casa Blanca was raised from 5 reales (25 cents) to 10 reales (50 cents) i)er
quintal.* No notice of the increased duty was given to the exporters, and
the only explanation given by the customs officials was that the order to in-
crease the duty came from the Sultan. The exporters reported the matter
to their representatives and they were advised to pay the increased duty un-
der protest. The diplomatic body here sent the protest of the exporters to
the Sultan and requested him to inform the representatives why this duty was
increased, why notice was not given the exporters, and why the foreign rep-
resentatives were not advised of the step taken. The substance of the reply
was that under the treaty the Sultan claimed the right to raise the tax on
the grain exported, as his Government needs the money.

At a meeting of the diplomatic body on the 24th instant, protest against
the payment of the increased duty was made and a request to His Majesty

X metric quintalw3ao.46 pounds.

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to collect only the old rate until such time as their respective governments
could be communicated with and a reply received instructing them in the

I would say England and Germany are the two countries to which the
greater part of this seed is exported. For upwards of sixteen years, the duty
has been but 5 reales (25 cents) per quintal. Exporters say, with a duty of 10
reales (50 cents), exportation of the article must cease. I think but little is
exported to the United States, and, as far as I know, there is no American
engaged in the business.

Another matter was brought up at the same meeting of the diplomatic
body. When Sir Arthur Nicholson, the British minister at this port, visited
the Sultan last year or the early part of this year, he requested that His
Majesty grant permission to open one or two gates more in the walls of the
town in order to facilitate egress and ingress near that part of the town close
to the soko, or market place. With only one gate in that part of the town,
it is not only a great inconvenience to one going in or out of the town, but
is attended with a good deal of danger to persons because of the donkeys,
mules, horses, and camels, with loads or without, constantly crowding their
way through the narrow entrance, which it is necessary for people to do at
the same time or to cause considerable delay for them. The Sultan asked
Sir Arthur Nicholson to have the plan sent him as to where the diplomatic
body wish to open the gates and it would be considered. Accordingly, this
was done, but not till a few days ago was any reply received. The reply
came addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, instead of direct to the
doyen of the diplomatic body, and stated in substance that a request by
the foreign representatives to open other gates should not have been made,
as this is a matter that does not fall within their province, but is his own
affair. The diplomatic body replied that the tone of His Majesty*s letter
was discourteous even to rudeness, but as it did not come through the proper
channel, being addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs instead of to
the doyen, it would not be considered at all, and that an answer to the
request of the representatives to open other gates is awaited.


Tangier, September 26, i8g6. Consul- General.

Since my dispatch of the 26th ultimo in reference to coriander seed, I
have received some information on the subject from the consular agent at
Casa Blanca, Mr. J. Cobb. I inclose a copy of his letter to me, in which
a brief history of the business in the seed is given and a review of the ques-
tion of an increase in the export tax as ordered by the Sultan. From this
report it appears that a large quantity is yearly shipped to the United States.


Tangier, October ig, i8g6. Consul- General,

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Casa Blanca, October ^^ i8g6.
David N. Burke, Esq.,

Untied States Consul- General^ Tangier.

Sir : Since writing you on the 3d instant in respect to coriander seed, I now have the
honor to give you the history of coriander seed in Morocco.

Until 1883, all the coriander seed produced in Morocco was consumed in the country.
In 1884, a small quantity was offered for shipment. Samples were sent to Europe, and on
receipt of information to the effect that the seed was salable in Europe, 20 or 30 bags were
taken to the custom-house for shipment. Thereupon, a discussion arose between the shippers
and the custom-house officers as to the duty, the article not being mentioned in the export
tariff. Finally, it was agreed that the duty should be 10 ounces (equal to 5 ron) per 112
pounds, English weight. The quantity available for export increased annually, and the export
duty remained at 10 ounces until the German convention came into force in 1890 or 189 1 ;
since then, the export duty has been paid in Spanish currency instead of Moorish.

Until this year (1896), Casa Blanca alone exported coriander seed, but owing to the revo-
lutionary troubles and insecurity of roads, in June and July some of this seed was taken by
the growers to Mazagan, instead of Casa Blanca, for sale. In shipping at Mazagan, the cus-
toms officials there obtained from the shippers an export duty of 10 ron per cwt., double that
paid in Casa Blanca.

On discovering this discrepancy, Mazagan shippers refused to pay the double duty, and
the Mazagan customs officials referred the matter to the Moorish Government, which imme-
diately wrote the Casa Blanca officiab ordering them to pay to the Moorish Government the
difference between 5 and 10 reales on all coriander seed shipped during their time of service.
Both these orders have been carried out, and, further, the Moorish Government is forcing all
former customs officials at Casa Blanca to pay the difference during their terms of office.

The action of the Moorish Government is manifestly unjust and inadmissible, for the fol-
lowing reasons :

( 1 ) The duty of 10 ounces, or 5 reales, has been in force for twelve years.

(2) No notice of change was given to merchants.

(3) The doubling of the duty has been enforced when the whole crop (a large one this
year) had practically been bought by merchants on the basis of 5 real de vellon duty.

(4) Merchants had made considerable contracts for delivery of this seed, all based on the
former export duty.

(5) The present value of this seed being only about i^ cents (United States currency)
per pound, delivered in the United States, it can not stand the heavy duty — 10 reales (half a
Spanish dollar) per cent; and it would be unfair to allow the Moorish Government to' impose
this duty upon merchants who are bound to fill their contracts based on half that duty.

At all times the United States are large consumers of coriander seed grown in Morocco.
A direct shipment of as much as 40 tons has been made at a time from Casa Blanca, while
the greater part of the seed is forwarded by intermediate firms from London, Hambui^, and
Marseilles to the United States. There is good reason to believe that the United States con-
sumes more Morocco coriander seed than all Europe together.

Consular Agent.


This is a subject being very seriously considered by those interested in
the importation of raw and half- manufactured iron from the United States to
Europe. Some manufacturers look upon the matter as not being of a serious
nature and think it will be a long time before the many obstacles for a seri-
ous competition with the United States will be removed. Others think dif-
No. 198 8.

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ferently. But the matter, according to my ideas, rests with the Americans.
Some manufacturers claim that owing to the difference in weights and measure-
ments between the American and German demand, the buyers and consumers
here will find a difficulty in fitting their orders to suit their requirements, and,
further, that the time required between the giving and receiving of an order,
often delayed, is a very serious drawback to the American, as it necessitates
giving an order too early or too long beforehand to form an estimate as to
their requirements. A German is not going to order too much. He looks
over his stock and would rather order too little than run the risk of carrying
any over. He is used to ordering small quantities at a time, just as he may
need, from the factory or wholesale dealer, and it will be impossible to edu-
cate him up to our way of ordering a large stock at a time from America or
anywhere else. Another objection from their standpoint is the fact that the
Americans want their offers confirmed by cable to insure acceptance, whereas
the German wants to see his goods first, to know that he is getting what he
wants as to quality and quantity. Then, they claim that the question of
weights, as given in the American bill of lading, works to the disadvan-
tage of the buyer, as the American sells according to his weight and demands
payment therefor, whereas according to the experience of the buyer on this
side, the weights never agree and are invariably against them.

The manufacturing of raw iron in Germany and Luxemburg was increased
in 1896 more than 500,000 tons, but even this enormous increase did not
supply the demand, and to still further increase the quantity is almost an
impossibility, owing to the lack of the necessary quantity of coke. The
increase of 1896, compared with the production in 1895 (in which year
250,000 tons* increase had already taken place), was equal to an increase of
9 per cent, or about the amount of one month's production. This enormous
increase in the production did not supply the demand by any means, and
large quantities had to be imported. The Germans say (and I have always
said the same) that if Americans want to compete in Germany with the Ger-
mans, they (the Americans) will have to carry large stocks of goods on this
side, to be ready for any emergency or any demands made on them. This,
they think, the Americans will never do; they argue it will take too much
capital and cost so much that the profits will not pay them, and that owing
to this increase in cost and outlay of capital the American will not be able to

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 56 of 82)