United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 224-227 online

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us checks of 28 inches which, notwithstanding the; reasonable price, we are obliged
to refuse, because they are subject to too high a customs duty. It is necessary to
have pieces of 23 and 27 inches.

Indiennes. — The small American indiennes have long since won an important
place in Haitian consumption, and the market continues to widen. This is due
primarily to the quality of the goods. The English indiennes of narrow width and
low price were formerly a rather poor article. The designs were bad, the print
detestable, and there was a stiffening which completely masked the tissue, which,
after the first washing, was nothing more than a sieve. The success of American
24-inch indiennes is easily understood. They are of good tissue, with new de-
signs carefully made, and printed acceptably. So it happens that merchants to-day
give orders by the thousand pieces; and I have no hesitation in saying that if some
No. 227 10.



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738 COTTON-GOODS TRADE IN HAITI.

exigencies of this market could be taken into account, our orders would be still
more important.

In the first place, the cutting. We need pieces of 25 yards and 12^ yards, for
the people can not accustom themselves to irregular pieces, and often refuse to buy-
on account of an excess of i or 2 yards in a piece.

Second. The width of 24 inches is insuflScient. In order to put ourselves in ac-
cord with our customs tariff, we require pieces of 27, 28, 30, and 31 inches. They
should be of fine quality.

Third. The colors are not always such as we should like to have in our assort-
ment. The Haitian woman has a special taste for mauve, and the difficulty of ob-
taining this in America obliges us to apply to England.

Fourth. Our choice is rather limited. Our correspondents present us assort-
ments of cases, among which we are obliged to make a selection of designs, good
or bad, for importation. We have to take the case as it is. It is the taste of the
manufacturer, and not ours, that we are obliged to follow. It is otherwise in
England, where we make our assortment, distributing orders, and where they only
force us to take from 300 to 400 yards of each design. If the American manufac-
turers would take into account these desiderata of the Haitian market, they would
wrest from England the whole market for indiennes.

White and unbleached cotton, — This ought to be the triumph of American manu-
facturers, but it is in this line that the English hold the chief position. In a general
way the stiffening (appret) is better in England, and that not only in the inferior
but in all qualities. The bleaching is perfect. Where it is a question of ordinary
tissues, in which the stiffening plays an important role, the English excel. Their
prices for these kinds are also less high, which is due no doubt to the inferior
cotton they employ. This superiority disappears in the "gray drill" and the
"gray domestic" bleached and of larger thread, in which the English compete but
little. It is almost impossible for us to obtain in England soft gray drills without
stiffening, sufficiently white, which can bear comparison in the market with the
American article. The lines in which American manufacturers fail are the inferior
qualities of small width, of which the consumption is very large — gray domestic of
24 and 25 inches at 2 or 2% cents, and white shirting of the same price. The
American gray domestic is delivered whiter than the English, which is due no
doubt to the better quality of the cotton employed; this is a cause of superiority,
and at the same price the American article should be preferred.

The foregoing are the principal articles which the large importers procure from
the United States, and of which the interior sales are the greatest. A number of
other tissues might be added, but it is unnecessary to mention them. It is belter
to occupy ourselves with articles which the Americans do not yet manufacture, or
which they have not sent us up to the present time:

Head kerchiefs (mouchoirs pour tdte). The headdress of the lower class woman
(femme du peuple)of Haiti is a kerchief folded around the head, of which there arc
four types:

(i) The kerchief of blue and white squares, called "romal handkerchiefs."

(2) The white kerchief.

(3) The imitation madras kerchief.

(4) The kerchief of printed cotton, with soft stiffening, imitating, more or less
nearly, madras designs.

All these kerchiefs are from 30 by 31 to 33 by 34 inches — large enough so that
the knot may be tied without difficulty. The romal handkerchiefs are the head-
dress of the lower class of women, and cost is. lod. (44.6 cents) per dozen. The
white kerchiefs from Manchester or Glasgow cost from 2s. 6d. (a 3s. 3d. (60.8 to 79
cents) or more. They are plain or embroidered in one corner, with or without



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COTTON-GOODS TRADE IN HAITI. 739

openwork (k jour). They carry an emblem of mourning. The imitation madras
handkerchief was made to take the place of the more expensive genuine article.
It is generally a Swiss product, costing from 6 to 7^ francs ($1.16 to $1.45). These
are called here "sham madras handkerchiefs." The "sham batiste handkerchiefs,"
so called because they are now made of cotton instead of thread and batiste, as for-
merly, have a considerable consumption. The ordinary headdress of all classes is
an article formerly received from Belfast, where it was made only of thread or a
mixture of thread and cotton. To-day it is also made in Glasgow and Manchester,
although the Belfast article retains its superiority on account of the mode of prep-
aration. The price varies from 3s. to 3s. 6d. or 3s. 7d. (73 to 85 or 87 cents). The
handkerchiefs are shipped in assorted dozens.

Victoria lawn^ which we call here imitation batiste or white muslin, is shipped in
large quantities, in pieces of 10 yards, at the ordinary price of from is. lod. to 2s. 6d.
(44.6 cents to 60.8 cents).

Muslin, plaid and openwork (k carreaux et k jour), is folded and shipped in the
same manner as the Victoria lawn. The price is the same. Finer articles, how-
ever, are imported at from 6^d. to 7d. (13 cents to 14 cents) per yard.

Shoes. — American shoes will displace European shoes when the American manu-
facturers wish it and when they follow the methods of their French competitors.
The latter sent here representatives charged with studying the local peculiarities.
On their return to France, special forms for Haiti were made; so no shoes suit the
Haitians as well as those of a few French houses, especially Fanien for men and
Hattat for women. Beside the form of the foot, it is necessary to study Haitian
taste, and it is there that the contest with French houses will be most difficult.
We have in stock some American boots for women, very pretty and considered
elegant in Paris, but not one of our customers has ever found a pair to suit her.

In conclusion, we believe that a study of the Haitian market would be' of con-
siderable interest to the manufacturers of the United States. They would find here
a good opening and would displace their English competitors at almost every point.
What-we advise is for them to make a visit to the place; their eyes will inform them
better than the longest reports they can receive how to modify to their profit the
balance of Haitian importations.

REPORT FROM CONSULAR AGENT AT GONAIVES.

A few years ago, apart from such articles as salt beef and pork, salt and pickled
fish, flour, soap, and lumber, American goods were hardly represented in this mar-
ket. But during the last twenty years, cotton goods from the United States have
dealt a hard blow to the monopoly enjoyed up to that time by Manchester products.

American articles, such as denims, prints, bleached and unbleached cottons,
checks, and ginghams, have gradually crept in, and now they have gained consid-
erable ground on account of their good quality, competing advantageously with
similar English articles in which the inferior quality of the tissue is often concealed
by artificial preparations or stiffening, which is lost in the first washing. The con-
sumers have learned quickly to have confidence in the American goods, even when
they cost a little more. These cottons would have succeeded fully, if the manu-
facturers had observed certain small details, which the customs of the market
have rendered necessary. For instance, the pieces of goods should measure ex-
actly 25 or I2>^ yards; the latter dimension has become quite popular lately and
represents more than half of the imports.

As regards prints, American fabricants put too much uniformity and not enough
colors in their designs, and not enough designs in their assortments.

Moreover, the (packing would be more suitable if cases, instead of containing
from 2,500 to 3,000 yards, held 625 yards, viz, 25 pieces of 25 yards, or 50' pieces of



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740 COTTON-GOODS TRADE IN HAITI.

I2>^ yards. The bleached and unbleached cotton checks or ginghams should also
be packed in similar trusses of 625 yards and repacked in bales*of 5 or 6 trusses.

Manchester still holds the first rank for blue and white handkerchiefs and union
madras handkerchiefs, 34 inches, which are imported here in very large quantities,
being used by the country people and some city women as head gear. The superior
qualities of union madras handkerchiefs are specially made at Belfast, in Ireland.
I can also mention union and linen goods, such as brabant. batiste, cambrai. platille.
drills, and ducks, the monopoly of which belong to the Irish manufacturers.

There are also white woolens for dresses, which come from France and Ger-
many. I think that Americans could find a very important market in Haiti for
hosiery, hats, shoes, tinware, hardware, earthenware, pottery, glassware, etc.

The transactions between the two -countries are regulated by too short terms of
credit. While French or English shipments call for payments in six months' time,
the American invoices are to be paid in sixty days, or, very rarely, in ninety days.
The Haitian importer, whose local trade is generally based on credit — in most cases
without even a limit of time — is naturally inclined to listen to the offers of the trav-
elers that European manufacturers send to the country. American houses should
also send travelers who can speak the French language, with samples, to offer
their products in this country. I am of opinion that a larger portion of the Hai-
tian trade would go to the United States if there were some American banking
houses making a specialty of exchange between the two countries. French, Ger-
man, and English houses almost monopolize the banking business in Haiti, and I
consider the establishment of such facilities with the United States an essential
factor in trade. Sometimes, interested newspapers or Europeans established in
Haiti try to exclude competition by representing the economical condition of the
country as bad. When one considers how the European banking houses at Port
au Prince and other ports of the Republic prosper, it is a matter of astonishment that
no American house is to be found in this branch of business, where its presence
could not fail to increase our trade.



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NOTES.

Russian Exhibition of Dairy Products and Machinery. —

Consul-General Holloway sends from St. Petersburg, May 13, 1899,
programme of the exhibition of dairy products and machines and
appliances for use in dairy work, to be opened in St. Petersburg Sep-
tember I, 1899, and to continue one month. The programme reads:

The exhibition consists of the following divisions and classes:

Division J. — Dairy products.

Class 1. — Milk, cream, curds, sour cream, and other products.

Class 2. — All kinds of butter.

Class J, — All kinds of cheese.

Class 4. — Accessory products: koumiss (fermented milk of mares), kefir, gaseous
milk and other kinds of it, milk brandy, condensed and dry milk, whey, etc.

Division II. — Dairy apparatus and machines.

Class J. — Apparatus and machines to work the milk: separators, churns, butter
dryers, cheese kettles, pasteurisators, elevators, etc.

Class 6. — Apparatus for scientific and practical analysis of milk, butter, and other
products.

Division III. Class 7. — Exhibition of the products under work.

Division IV. Class 8. — Tasting division.

Division V. Class g. — Scientific division: investigations, descriptions of farms,
herbaria, etc., collections, models, apparatus, adaptations for learning, reports of
the dairy — schools and learning books.

Division VI. Class 10. — Auxiliary substances: salt, color, ferment, abomasums,
thermometers, psychrometers, etc.

Division VII. Class 11. — Dairy buildings: plans, models, special adaptations for
cooling, ventilating, and heating.

Division VIII. Class 12. — Conservation and transportation of dairy products:
ice wagons, cooling rooms, magazines, and samples of different kinds of packing
butter, cheese, etc.

The dairy products are to be of Russian origin; the exhibition is international
in regard to machinery, apparatus, kinds of packing, and means for transportation.
The entrance fee is 4s. (97 cents) per square meter. Articles must be delivered to
the exhibition not later than five days before opening, with the exception of ma-
chinery, which must be sent twenty days before. There will be daily demonstra-
tions of the fabrication of dairy products and the working of machines.

Under date of June 2, 1899, Consul-General Holloway writes that
he has been informed that the Minister of Finance will allow a duty-
free entry of foreign exhibits for the international section of the
dairy exhibition. The exhibits which will be sold at the exhibition,
as also those which will remain in Russia after it is closed, will have
to pay the regular duty levied on such articles.

741



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742 NOTES.

Mechanical Power in Germany.— Under date of Chemnitz,
May 20, 1899, Consul Monaghan transmits the following statistics
relative to horsepower machinery and engines in Germany, and the
opportunity for the increase of sales of American makes:

The employment of motors in industries is rapidly increasing in
Germany. From 1875 to the present time the number of concerns
using motor power has increased sevenfold, the horsepower three-
fold or fourfold. According to the census of 1895, 3>42i,i94 horse-
power was employed. Of this power, 2,715,078 w^s put down to
steam, 629,065 to water. The 3,421,194 horsepower represents only
the real power put forth, not the indicated or possible power. It
seldom happens that an engine or motor is used at anything like its
indicated capacity. The power used in agricultural pursuits, rail-
road, river, harbor, and coast transportation, etc., also the great
central stations that supply power to other concerns, is not taken
into account in the foregoing. The German railroads employed in
1895 16,377 locomotives (16,107 on the wide-gauge roads and 270 on
narrow gauge). Giving the wide-gauge-road engines an average of
450 horsepower, and the narrow gauge 150, we get for the Empire's
.locomotives 7,288,000 horsepower. Among the farmers of Ger-
many (in 1894-95) 259,364 farms used steam thrashers, 1,696 steam
plows, and 26,000 milk centrifugals with power. Ocean steamers
(1,061) had, in 1895, 801,750 horsepower; river, harbor, and coast
steamers (1,530) had 171,360 horsepower. These figures are all for
1895, and there has been a constant increase since. I am not sure
that there is not a field here for our better class high-grade en-
gines. The tendency everywhere is toward steam, water, electrical,
and gas powers. Engines, if cheap enough and good enough, ought
to go as well here as with us. The demand is not decreasing. Ag-
ricultural machines, most of which had their origin in our country,
are imitated; how successfully, only one familiar with the machines
can say. If we work half as hard as do Germans; we can conquer
markets in Russia, the East, South Africa, Australia, etc., where our
machines are almost sure to succeed, price for price, against all
others.



Slate Trade in Rheims. — The following extract is from a let-
ter to a Pennsylvania firm* by Consul Prickitt, of Rheims, dated
May 20, 1899:

The cost of roofing slate, laid down in Rheims, is, for the best
qualities, 24 francs ($4.63) per thousand. The size of the pieces
is approximately 12 by 7^^ inches. As laid here, it lakes fifty-four



♦To which the original has been forwarded.



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NOTES. 743

pieces to cover a space 39 inches square. This slate weighs 350
kilograms (770 pounds) per thousand. The duty on roofing slate in
France is 1.40 francs (27 cents) per 100 kilograms (220 pounds).
Polished slate is charged 4 to 5 francs (77.2 to 96.5 cents) per 100
kilograms. The principal slate quarries of this district are at Fumay
and Signy le Petit. The slate of Fumay is the most valuable, being
of a beautiful violet color and having a fine grain. Heat and cold
do not affect it. It sells for about 2 francs (38.6 cents) more a
thousand than the roofing slate from other quarries. The* principal
dealer in this city is Victor Druart, Chaussee du Port, No. 37. Slate
is exported from France in large quantities, and but little is im-
ported. It is used in this country chiefly for roofing. I do not
think this market promising for the introduction of roofing slate
from America.



Antwerp Ivory Market. — Consul-General Lincoln writes from
Antwerp, May 5, 1899:

At the second quarterly sale held on the 2d and 3d instant, the ivory
offered and sold was as follows: About 133,411 pounds Kongo hard,
9,472 pounds Kongo soft, 18,026 pounds Angola, 9,918 pounds Ga-
boon, 1,221 pounds Zanzibar soft, and 994 pounds Senegal and Gold
Coast. The total was about 173,042 pounds, as compared with 128,-
568 pounds in 1898, 162,214 pounds in 1897, and 146,682 pounds in
1 896. The bidding was very active, the prices established showing an
advance of from 9.6 to 19.3 cents per 2.204 pounds for the heavy and
medium weight tusks and 19.3 cents for the scrivailles. For tusks
for bangles, however, there was a fall in price of about 19.3 cents.
There was a considerable increase in the value of soft ivory, varying
from 57.9 to 96.5 cents per 2.204 pounds. Stock on hand this day
is about 206,075 pounds, against 127,832 pounds in 1898, 185,136
pounds in 1897, and 236,930 pounds in 1896. The next quarterly
sale will be held on August i.



Exclusion of Certain American Products from France. — Un-
der date of April 29, 1899, Consul Skinner, of Marseilles, transmits
the following translation of a decree excluding certain American
products from France. Although the decree was issued some
months ago, it was only published in Marseilles on the date of its
transmittal by the consul.

To the customs authorities.

I transmit to the service the duplicate of a decree of November 30 last which
determines the measures to be taken to prevent the invasion of France by an insect
known as the San Jos6 scaA^iAspiUiotus pcrniciosus), the presence of which has been
noted at Hamburg in shipments of American fruits.



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744 NOTES.

In virtue of article i of this decree, trees, bushes, products of nurseries, cut-
tings, and all other vegetables or parts of living vegetables — also their d6bris — com-
ing from the United States are interdicted from entering or passing in transit
through France, either directly or through the bonded warehouses. This interdic-
tion extends to cases, sacks, and other packing materials serving or having seived
in the transportation of the articles named.

The same decree stipulates in article 2 that when the presence of the insect shall
have been Doted in shipments or d6bris of fresh fruits, the shipment of said fruit
and its packings shall be prohibited. Instructions will be furnished later concern-
ing the special measures to be taken in applying article 2 in question.

I add that by a new decree of February 3, the dispositions of the decree above
are extended to Algeria.



Sug^ar in Spain. — Mr. Mertens, in charge of the consular agency
at Valencia, under date of June 5, 1899, says:

Since the loss of her colonies, Spain's sugar factories, with a
yearly production of about 60,000 tons, are unable to satisfy the
public demand, which amounts in all Spain to about 100,000 tons of
sugar during the year. A high prohibitive duty of 102^ per cent
on foreign sugar protects the home industry and stands in the way
of sugar dealers and consumers. For this reason, a union of trades-
people and merchants of the different cities of Spain have petitioned
the Spanish Government to reduce the import duty to 50 per cent,
which would afford a fair protection for the refineries and at the
same time permit the import of sufficient sugar to supply the de-
mand. While this petition meets with great opposition from the
refiners, still, in view of the need of sugar and the small chance
of increasing either the number of factories or their output in the
near future, the Spanish Government will probably reduce the duty,
more especially as this will add to the customs income of the country
and do away with the incentive for smuggling. As soon as this re-
duction becomes la law, our dealers in refined sugar should be ready
with samples to secure contracts, before the competition with other
countries becomes too keen.



Breeding of Reindeer in Norway. — Under date of May 4, 1899,
Consul Nelson, of Bergen, reports that a company has been formed
in Telemarken, eastern Norway, for breeding and raising reindeer
on a large scale. At the head of this undertaking is Nils Bohnen,
one of the teachers in the people's high school, and for a time he
will personally superintend the industry. The company has already
bought 2,400 deer for 28,000 kroner ($7,504), and by degrees they
will increase the herd t(j between 3,000 and 4,000 deer. When this
number has been reached, the company will be enabled to kill about



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NOTES. 745

i,ooo deer every year without diminishing the herd. When slaugh-
tered, a deer is worth about 20 kroner ($7.36), and there are good
markets for this meat, especially in France and Belgium. The
company also hopes to induce England to purchase it. In order to
prevent the glutting of the market during the winter season, a can-
ning plant will be attached to the farm for the purpose of preserving
the meat. This hermetic factory will also can red char (a species of
small salmon) and ptarmigan. The company controls 50 to 60 square
miles of wild mountain land.



Demand for Dairy Machinery in Belgium. — Consul Le Bert
writes from Ghent, May 19, 1899:

I have this day received from Mr. A. Heynssens, rue Haut Port
12-14, a letter asking the names and addresses of important firms in
the United States manufacturing dairy machinery, such as churns,
separators, butter workers, dairy articles, refrigerators, cheese-making
machines, etc. He desires firms not as yet represented in Belgium
and asks that catalogues and circulars, with conditions of sale, be
addressed directly to his firm. This house is one of the oldest and
largest of the provinces of East and West Flanders handling the line
of goods mentioned. Upon inquiry, I learn that none of these arti-
cles are manufactured in Belgium.

The importations to both Flanders are chiefly from England and
Denmark. Considering the vast dairy industry of the Flanders
and our improved apparatus, there should be, ^yith proper represen-
tation, a wide field for our manufacturers of dairy machinery and
utensils.



Seal Fisheries of Japan. — Consul- General Gowey sends from
Yokohama, May 4, 1899, a clipping from the Japan Times relative
to the seal fishery of Japan. In connection with the facts therein
stated, says Mr. Gowey, showing the growth of this industry in
Japanese hands, it is significant to note that there are no longer any
foreign vessels fitted out here for seal or otter hunting. Only a few
years ago, a large fleet of American and British schooners so em-
ployed made their headquarters at Yokohama. The clipping reads:

The news given by us a few weeks ago concerning the prospect of this year's
seal fishery is apparently well founded. About thirteen Japanese sealing craft
started this year from Hakodate and other places, and some of them have come back
laden with a large number of skins. One that entered Oginohama about the nth
ultimo brought back 340 skins, while three that reached Hakodate about the same



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 224-227 → online text (page 87 of 92)