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Consular reports, Issues 188-191 online

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the tax on sugar for home consumption from 18 marks ($4.28) to 21 marks
($4.99) per 100 kilograms, or about 2.2 cents per pound. This increased
tax will, of course, be added to the retail price of sugar, already very high,
and tend to still further retard the increase of sugar consumption in Ger-
many, which is now only 28.8 pounds per capita, against 73.68 pounds per
capita in England and 77 pounds in the United States. This low rate of
consumption will not appear unnatural when it is remembered how large a
percentage of the working classes in Germany must live with the utmost

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economy, and that sugar, which sells in the United States at 4 and 5 cents
per pound, costs at retail 73^ cents per pound in Germany.

From the statistics that were brought out in the recent debate, it appears
that the whole system of beet culture and sugar manufacture in Germany
has reached a higher standard of scientific perfection than has been attained
in any other European country. Every step, from the preparation and fer-
tilization of the land to the smallest detail in the factory process, has been
reduced as nearly as possible to exact scientific methods. Comparing the
results attained in this country with those in France, the country probably
next in rank in respect to the perfection of its beet-sugar industry, the fol-
lowing statistics of the campaign of 1895-96 are presented:


Germany .„



Area of





Beets har-

of sugar

Beets re-
quired for
unit of bUgar.



'3- '5 '

" 1



All these statistics were cited to prove that the German sugar producers
are safe from all European competition and do not need the protection of an
increased export bounty ; but nothing could withstand the demand of the
Agrarians, and their victory is one of the most significant events in recent
German legislation.

Whether Austria and France will follow this lead by increasing their ex-
port bounties remains to be seen; but, in any event, the new law of Ger-
many can not fail to increase its future sugar product, and thereby exert a
more or less tangible effect upon the general market.


Consul' General,

Frankfort, y////r ./, j8g6.


The new German sugar law, which was passed by the Reichstag on May
15, 1896, has been approved by the Bundesrath and signed by the Emperor.
The main features of the law are the following :

(i) The export bounty has been increased on Class A, raw sugar of at
least 90 per cent and refined sugar of from 90 to 98 per cent purity, from
1.25 marks (29.7 cents) to 2.50 marks (59.5 cents) per 100 kilograms
(220.46 pounds); Class B, candies and sugars in white, full, hard loaves,
blocks, plates, sticks, crystals, and other sugars of at least 99)^ per cent
purity, from 2 marks (47.6 cents) to 3.55 marks (84.49 cents) per 100 kilo-
grams (220.46 pounds); Class C, all other sugars of at least 98 per cent
purity, from 1.65 marks (39.27 cents) to 3 marks (71.40 cents) per 100 kilo-
grams (220.46 pounds).

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(2) The home consumption tax has been raised from 18 marks (J4.28)
to 20 marks (^4.76) per 100 kilograms (220.46 pounds).

(3) The duty on imported sugars, including honey, natural or artificial,
has been raised from 36 marks ($8.57) to 40 marks (II9.52) per 100 kilograms
(220.46 pounds).

(4) A tax is levied on the output of sugar factories, as follows: If pro-
ducing up to 4,000,000 kilograms (8,818,400 pounds) of sugar, 10 pfennigs
(2.38 cents) per 100 kilograms (220.46 pounds); if producing from 4,000,000
to 5,000,000 kilograms (8,818,400 to 11,023,000 pounds) of sugar, 123^
pfennigs (2.98 cents); if producing from 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 kilograms
(11,023,000 to 13,227,600 pounds) of sugar, 15 pfennigs (3.58 cents), and
so on, adding 2]^ pfennigs (0.6 cent) per 100 kilograms (220.46 pounds)
for every 1,000,000 kilograms (2,204,600 pounds).

(5) The total output of raw sugar in Germany for the campaign year
1896-97 is limited to 1,700,000 tons (1,873,900 short tons), which may be
increased 2 per cent by the Bundesrath, to facilitate the erection of new
molasses-sugar factories. The limits for the following years will be fixed by
the Bundesrath in such a manner that an amount equal to twice the increase
in the home consumption will be added to the limit of the preceding year.

(6) The total limit of 1,700,000 tons (1,873,900 short tons) will be
apportioned among the various sugar factories according to their output dur-
ing the last three years and for new factories according to their estimated

(7) If a factory exceeds its allotted limit, it must pay on such excess a
production tax equal to the full export bounty — 2.50 marks (59.5 cents)
per 100 kilograms (220.46 pounds) — instead of the above-stated rates of
10, i2j^, 15, etc., pfennigs (2.38, 2.98, and 3.58 cents).

(8) As regards the home-consumption tax and the duty, this law will go
into effect immediately. The other stipulations of the law will become
operative on and after August i, 1896. The new export bounties are to be
paid only on sugar produced in the campaign year 1896-97 and later.

This law is the result of the agrarian agitation, which commenced about
a year ago. The German sugar industry has lately undergone a serious
crisis, principally the result of overproduction, and prices fell below the
cost of production. An unexi^ected relief, however, came through the dis-
turbances in Cuba and the consequent failure of the Cuban crop, so that
prices again rose from the lowest level of 8.50 marks ($2.02) in January,
1895, ^^ 12.60 marks (J3) in the beginning of May, 1896. Although,
owing to the Cuban troubles, the realization of continued good prices was in
view and the sugar industry thus relieved, the Agrarians clamored for the
passage of the law, claiming that the relief was only temporary, and that
other countries paying large indirect premiums would soon threaten Ger-
many's supremacy on the world's sugar markets.

It will be remembered that Germany formerly taxed the beets 80 pfen-
nigs (19.04 cents) per 100 kilograms (220.46 pounds) and refunded 8.50
No. 190 10.

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marks (J 2. 02) on every 100 kilograms of raw su^^ar exported. As it required
about 820 kilograms (1,807. 78 pounds) of beets to make 100 kilograms of raw
sugar, the Government received a tax of 6.56 marks ($1.56). It refunded
8.50 marks (;52.02) on exportation, and therefore i)aid a covert premium
of about 1.94 marks (46 cents) i>er 100 kilograms of raw sugar. Under
this law the beet-sugar industry flourished, but threatened to overstep the
limits of a healthy development, and therefore a new law was passed on
May 31, 1 89 1, to go into effect August i, 1892, by which the tax on beets
was abolished and a home-consumption tax of 18 marks ($4.28) i>er 100
kilograms put on raw sugar. A direct export bounty of 1.25 marks (29.7
cents) per 100 kilograms of raw sugar was granted, which was to be re-
duced to I mark (23.8 cents) on August i, 1895, and discontinued entirely
on and after August i, 1897. It was intended that this law should restrict
the overgrowth of the industry, yield more revenue to the Government, and
induce other sugar-producing countries to do away with the bounty system
also. It failed in these vital points, except in increasing the revenue of the

As the industry was greatly depressed in the beginning of 1895, ^^^^
intended reduction of the bounty to i mark (23.8 cents) api>eared unadvis-
able, and a temporary law was passed on May 24, 1895, continuing the
premium of 1.25 marks (29.7 cents) after August i, 1895. By the new law
just passed, the export bounty has been raised to 2.50 marks (59.5 cents),
a figure higher than ever before, even if the production tax of 10 or 15
pfennigs (2.38 cents or 3.58 cents) is deducted. It is claimed that this was
done not only to protect German sugar growers against other Euroi>ean
competitors, but also to force a fight with the latter, with a view to an ulti-
mate abolition of all export bounties.

It is my belief that this latter result will not be attained, because Ger-
many, through physical conditions and long training, has reached a i)erfec-
tion in this industry which is not equalled by any other nation, and, with
premiums abolished all around, she would beat all comi)etitors on even terms.

The effects of this law uix>n the United States will be various. It will
furnish cheaper raw sugar to our refiners, and should therefore also reduce
the price of the refined article, although German dealers deny that an in-
crease of premium naturally means a reduction in the export price. With
a short world's supply, this may be true; but in case of even ordinary crops,
Germany will how be able to sell sugar for export just 1.25 marks (29.7
cents) cheaper than before, and be as well off. For instance, if exjK^rt sugar
is now sold at 12 marks (J2.85) free on board Hamburg, under the new
law this sugar could be sold at 10.75 niarks (52.55), because, in the former
case, the Government i)ays a bounty of 1.25 marks (29.7 cents), and, in the
latter, of 2.50 marks (59.5 cents).

All European countries are speculating on a shortage of the next Cuban
crop also, and have considerably increased their beet area. Wg will, there-
fore, probably see the Cuban shortage almost covered during the coming

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campaign, and then, if not before, the increase in the bounty must and will
be expressed in the price of export sugar. In fact, since the beginning of
May, when the passage of the law seemed certain, the price of sugar com-
menced to drop, and has now lost almost i mark (23.8 cents), thus render-
ing questionable all the advantages expected from the law.

Ordinarily, we should not object if European countries outbid each other
in furnishing us with cheap sugar. We have, however, a raw-sugar industry
of our own, and especially an infantile beet-sugar industry, which is seriously
affected by anything tending to decrease the value of its products. Sugar
has a world's market value, and its price is regulated by the world's supply
and demand. If sugar goes down on the world's market through foreign
legislative measures, which help the foreign grower, our producers will suffer,
because they receive from the refiners only the world's market value, plus the
protection contained in our tariff of 40 per cent and one-tenth of a cent
per pound on sugar from bounty-paying countries.

The United States revenue is no less interested in the world's market
value of sugar, as we levy an ad valorem duty on this article. Germany,
being the largest sugar-producing country, greatly influences the world's
market price, which, through this new legislation, will eventually decline by
about the difference between the old and new bounty, and the United States
will thereby suffer a corresponding loss in revenue.

In conclusion, I desire to speak a word for our own beet-sugar industry.
If we consider the enormous wealth which has accrued to Germany and all
other countries that have introduced and fostered this industry, it is, indeed,
to be desired that the United States should be put on such a footing as to be
able to produce its own sugar. With our vast territory, varied climates,
and soil, we should find a sufficient area adapted to grow all the sugar we
consume, if we can sufficiently protect the industry against European
competition, unduly aided by direct or indirect bounties.


Magdeburg, May jOy i8g6. Consul.


The Stuttgart Export Musterlager, an institution for the exhibition of
sample manufactures of the Kingdom of Wurtemburg, has just made its report
for the year 1895. This Export Musterlager is practically a permanent ex-
hibition of all articles manufactured here, and is presided over by a director
who is able to inform i)urchasers of prices, etc., and whose duty it is to send
agents about the world for the purpose of extending Wurtemberg trade.
There are also i>ermanent agents stationed in some foreign cities. To quote
from the report :

The expectatiun which we expressed in our report for 1894, that the year 1895 would see
our trade extended with countries beyond the sea and that we should be able to cxiwrt a

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larger amount of our manufactures, has partially been fulfilled. The demands of South and
Central America have risen, and from eastern Asia, where the people are gradually becoming
accustomed to the detrimental silver standard, we are receiving larger orders. Our customers
from North America were backward in buying; on the other hand, with Australia and South
Africa, business was active, so that, for the year, we can report not only an increase in the
number of sales, but also in the volume of business. To accomplish this end, we have been
constantly employed in sending reports and price lists* to all parts of the world, as well as
extending invitations to visit our exhibition. While this has made much work, it has brought
us a large number of new purchasers.

The samples of manufactures on deposit with us have been extended during the past year,
especially in clocks, textile fabrics, and metal ware. The old samples have been constantly
renewed and enlarged, so that the visitor to our exhibition finds a full and fresh assortment of
goods on hand at all times, and as we are always able to furnish the purchaser with the market
prices of the day, he can place his orders at once without further delay or expense.

The best proof of the usefulness of our exhibition is shown by the increase of both verbal
and written inquiries that we receive, and the importance attached by exporters and pur-
chasers to the ease and rapidity with which they can receive all particulars of each branch of
trade from us is proved in the same way.

Then follows a list of the cities and towns from which orders were re-
ceived during the past year, and it includes nearly all places of importance
in the world. In the United States, I find mentioned New York, Chicago,
St. Louis, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Brooklyn, Milwaukee, Detroit, Boston,
and San Francisco. The activity of the Stuttgart Export Musterlager and
other such societies in Germany should prove to our manufacturers that
their trade is being contested at all points, and without equal exertion on
their part and a willingness to accommodate purchasers and to study their
wants, they will be driven from the field, except in branches where circum-
stances give the American manufacturer a natural advantage.



STUTT(;ARr, May 26, i8g6.


I have the honor to submit herewith reports covering the several consu-
lates of the United States in Switzerland for the calendar year 1895, viz,
Basle, Geneva, Ilorgen, Berne, St. Gall, and Zurich.


In compliance with your request,* I inclose a statement showing the
course of the export business from this consulate during the last year.

Silk goods, — With one remarkable exception, this statement shows quite
accurately the condition of business in general during the period mentioned,
for the principal manufacturers are also the principal exporters to the United

• These rejxjris are addressed to the consul-general, at whose request they were prepared by the several

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States. The exception is the great silk-ribbon industry, which, on the whole,
has enjoyed a year of very unusual prosperity, while the shipments to the United
States have been relatively small. Orders from England, France, and (jer-
many have kept the looms employed to their full capacity, and, at the same
time, prices were somewhat higher in consequence of the rise in raw silk.
The fashion has been decidedly in favor of this article, and, in Europe, the
consumption has been immense. In the United States, sales have been
small, and the export, amounting to $938,370, from this district was only a
little superior to that of the year of great depression which preceded. The
competition of our home industry, no doubt, had much to do with the com-
parative unimportance of American orders for ribbons during the last year.
The tendency to rely on the American manufacturer is seen by the marked
decline in the value of ribbon exports from Switzerland since 1890.

Value of ribbons exporUd.

i890„ ^1,898,897

1891 1,097,662

1892 1,154,656

'893 • I,i45»i93

1894 800,571

1895 938,370

This shows a loss of almost exactly one-half in the last five years:
Watches and watch materials. — The decline in the exportation of these
articles to the United States has been very marked ; but, unlike the ribbon
business, the watch industry is at present suffering from the general depres-
sion to which it has for several years been exposed. Since 1890, the values
of watches exported to the United States have been :

1890 $1,525,000

1891 1,590,000

1892 1,370,000

1893 1,012,000

1894 799,000

1895 893,000

The ever-increasing production of watches in the United States has
effected, in five years, a diminution of about 50 i)er cent in the value of ex-
ports to that country from Switzerland.

Colors and chemicals. — This branch of production and exportation shows
a tendency to hold its own, and even to make some progress. The total value
of these products exported to the United States from this district in 1895 was
$584,000; in 1890, the amount was $482,000, and it has remained at about
the same figure since that time until the past year. Prices of colors are much
lower than in the earlier years, when the newly discovered coal-tar products
and the colors manufactured from them were veritable gold mines; but the
new discoveries and inventions of the highly trained chemists employed by
the manufacturers of Basle have so far secured for the business continued
prosperity and constant extension. Whether, for the lack of proper training

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on the part of American chemists, the want of skilled labor, or for some other
reason, the United States shows no sign of being able, in the near future, to
escape from its dependence upon Switzerland and Germany for its colors
and dyes.

Hides and skins. — During last summer the high price of leather in the
United States resulted in the export of ^346,000 worth of salted hides and
skins from Switzerland to that country. There is always a small export
business in special kinds of hides, but the movement has never before taken
anything like this extension.

Spun waste silk. — This is the only remaining article exported in consid-
erable quantities to the United States from Basle. The declared value of
the merchandise tends to increase slightly, though the price has not followed
the upward movement of raw silk.

Ahsinihc. — Of social rather than commercial importance is the fact that
the export of absinthe from the Canton of Neufchatel, where it is manufac-
tured, to the United States amounted in 1895 to 140,000. T.,ast year it was
^31,000, and amounted in former years to about 1125,000. The greater
part of it goes to New Orleans and California, presumably for the use of the
French population.


In the consular district of Geneva, which embraces about all of French
Switzerland, the year 1895 has been satisfactory, but by no means a brilliant
one commercially. At Geneva, which is largely a city of shops, hotels, and
schools, the great passage of tourists, particularly American tourists, was
naturally a source of considerable profit and the hotels were the principal
beneficiaries. It is a notable fact, however, that while there were many
more Americans than usual, they did not patronize the shops of Geneva so
liberally as has been their custom in the past. Their important purchases
here were confined to fur garments and a few high-grade watches. They
s|)ent less than usual for musical boxes, jewelry, and cheap watches. It
would not be an exaggeration, however, to say that several hundred
thousand dollars were left here during the summer by Americans.

In so far as the commercial dealings of French Switzerland with the
United States are concerned, the year has been a little better than 1894.
During the second and third (quarters there was a very marked increase in the
exports, but the whole year only shows a total increase of ^ 127,32 7 over
the year previous. The increase was principally in musical boxes, watches,
and watch material.

There have been some failures in business, but not more than usual.
One of the notable failures, however, was that of a company which manu-
factured cheap-grade watches here with American machinery. This was the
only establishment of its character in Geneva, and some of the old Genevese
watchmakers point to its failure as significant of the fact that American ap-
pliances for watch making can not be profitably and satisfactorily used in
Geneva. Meanwhile, however, it is worthy of note that at Chauxdefonds

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and other mountain villages of Switzerland similar machinery and appliances
are being satisfactorily employed in the manufacture of cheap watches.

The exportations from the United States to French Switzerland are in-
considerable and consist principally of canned meats, fancy groceries, and
patent medicines. There is neither an increase nor a falling off in this small
trade. The year, however, has witnessed the introduction of a new American
staple in the form of liquid fish glue, which has found a more or less ready
market in French Switzerland.

The readjustment of the schedule of tariff duties, which heretofore dis-
criminated largely against France, in the commercial relations between France
and Switzerland has been a source of great satisfaction to French Switzer-


It is with a certain satisfaction that Switzerland can look back on the
year 1895. The main sources of the prosperity of this country — agricul-
ture and commerce — show fairly well for that period. The agriculturists
were content that the grass crops, although spoiled later on by the continued
drought (August to October), were as abundant as in the year 1894, hay
being, in some places, even cheaper than straw. Cattle, which had been
high in price since 1893, began to grow cheap; also, milk and cheese begin
to show a declining tendency. On the other hand, cereals, potatoes, and
wine were rising in price on account of their excellent quality. Fruit, how-
ever, especially apples (the Swiss article of export), failed. Nevertheless,
the above-mentioned results cause the farming season to appear, on the
whole, a good one ; they have strengthened the purchasing power of the
farmers for manufactured articles. Moreover, this favorable fact was accom-
panied by another of importance — the unparalleled influx of foreign visitors
into the Swiss mountains and summer resorts. The next impulse toward a
prosperous trade last year, and for the future, was the reopening of former
fields of export. The tariff war with France came to a satisfactory end, so
that the trade in French and Swiss products will soon regain its former

The recovery of commerce in the United States was, of course, the
greatest stimulus* to the Swiss industries and export business, that field of
oi^erations being of the highest importance to the Swiss manufacturers of
embroideries, silk fabrics, straw goods, cotton and wool tissues, watch
material, etc.

A review of the Swiss business of 1895, lately published, estimates, the
exportation from Switzerland last year at $130,000,000, against $104,000,-
000 in 1894, and the importation at $180,000,000, against $165,000,000
in 1894.

With respect to the business of this consular district in the past year, I
may say that, with the exception of silk piece goods and condensed milk,
the exportation has increased considerably in all lines, as will be seen from
the figures following.

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Exports from Ilorgen in i8g4 and i8g^.

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 188-191 → online text (page 66 of 102)