Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

tendency to augment indirect taxation. There does not appear to be any prospect as yet of large reductions of public expenditure by any power. Military and naval requirements are not likely to lessen.

on

TARIFF WARS. Before concluding this part of the paper, international disagreements which have led to definite retaliatory action should be mentioned. Passing over measures relating to public health, adopted in consequence of insufficient sanitary precautions in particular foreign countries, and which are usually effective in bringing about satisfactory arrangements on these points, a recent Colonial instance may first be adduced. In 1885, the Canadian Legislature passed a law affecting certain Newfoundland products. The object in view was to bring pressure upon Newfoundland, either to become part of the Dominion, or to grant certain terms desired on behalf of Canadian trade. Thereupon the Newfoundland Legislature imposed additional duties on imports from any country which, while making use of Newfoundland fisheries, imposed a discriminating duty on the produce of those fisheries caught by Newfoundlanders, and imported into such countries. In consequence of this threatened retaliation, the Canadian Government did not enforce the Act under which the duties in question were to have been levied.

France and Italy.-The operation of the Commercial Treaty of 1882 did not afford satisfaction to either country; and notice was given for the termination of its tariffs in 1888. Italy adopted a protectionist tariff in July, 1887. Long and fruitless negotiations ensued; and on March ist, 1888, special retaliating tariffs came into force in each country. These restrictive measures were taken off by mutual consent in January, 1890, when their products came under the ordinary tariffs. In November, 1898, a commercial agreement was concluded between the two Powers on the basis of most favoured nation treatment with special tariff arrangements with regard to certain goods. The results were that Italy lost great part of her wine trade with France, and France ceased to supply Italy with colonial products; and certain branches of Italian textiles, iron, and machinery trade passed to German houses.

Germany and Russia.--The commercial relations between these two Powers were disturbed by their respective alterations of tariff

between 1885 and 1893. The Russian Government established a new maximum tariff in 1893, and applied it to German goods. Germany replied by similar measures. Very influential interests in the two conterminous States were affected, and it became necessary for both parties to replace their trade relations

a friendly footing. A new treaty was negotiated and came into force in March, 1894. Each Government seems to have been satisfied that their respective grievances were removed.

France and Switzerland. - The French Chamber of Deputies rejected in December, 1892, a Bill to accord to Switzerland certain improvements on the minimum tariff of 1892. In the end France granted a few concessions to Switzerland, and Switzerland simply granted most favour-nation treatment to France. The trade between the two countries appears to be still below the level of the years previous to the protectionist French tariff of 1892, and the Swiss transit trade seems to have been diverted to other channels, and German and Italian houses have gained in the Swiss market to the detriment of their French competitors.

Germany and Spain.-In 1894 the commercial treaty concluded between the German and Spanish Governments (which was in most respects framed upon the same principles as the treaty existing previously between Germany and Spain) was rejected by the Spanish Cortes, and in consequence German goods in Spain (and Spanish goods in Germany) were deprived of any “most-favoured nation,” or tariff privileges enjoyed by them, and were subjected to considerably higher rates of duty than goods imported from most other countries.

The German Government thereupon, viz., in 1895, had a law passed by the Imperial Parliament at Berlin, giving it the right to use more severe relaliatory measures than had until then existed towards countries imposing higher duties on German goods than on those of other States. This new law provided that dutiable goods coming from such States as treated German ships and goods more unfavourably than those of other nations, might be subjected to a further “sentaxe,” not exceeding one hundred per cent. of the amount of duty imposed on entry by the German Customs tariff (providing no treaty provision existed of a contrary effect); and that goods which were admitted duty free by the tariff, inight, in the same conditions, be subjected to a duty not exceeding twenty per cent of their value.

same

were

The power thus given to the German Govern- bring about better relations than those which ment was at once made use of against Spanish subsisted previous to the conflict. This part goods imported into Germany, and for of the economic question requires very careful some time the

subjected to handling, and it especially should not be treated the ordinary duties of the German general for political party purposes. tariff. After about five years the Spanish Government (in view more especially of the prejudice caused to the Spanish wine

THE ECONOMIC QUESTION. export trade by these high German duties) As regards the economic position of the found itself compelled to come to terms, and to fiscal problem, it is to be borne in mind that conclude a fresh treaty of commerce with the general conditions of different manufacGermany, which came into force in the year turing countries, and the capacity and require1900.

ments of the working population, vary largely. Germany and Hayti.-In consequence of The differences of wants, habits, and tastes the refusal of the Haytian Government to grant are such that a comparative statement of the German imports and German shipping the governing considerations affecting the occupa. same privileges as to those of France (German tions and welfare of the people cannot be shown trade being unfavourably affected by the pre- fully by statistical tables. Moreover, an adeferential treatment of French products), the quate examination of these details, and deduc. German Government in April, 1901, imposed tions from their study, in order to present a an additional import duty on the prominent fair statement of the subject from this point of Haytian products brought to this country, viz., view, would in itself exceed the limits of this coffee, cocoa, and logwood, and this régime paper. It would also more properly come still continues at the present time.

within the scope of another society. The According to leading opinions at Hamburg, remarks under this heading will therefore be the effect of this tariff war, however, between restricted to certain leading facts, chiefly conGermany and Hayti has been almost more cerned with the industrial interests of the detrimental to German trade and industry United Kingdom, but with reference also to than to the Haytian export trade, for it is foreign countries on points directly bearing declared that the trade in Haytian dyewood upon these enquiries. The following summary has now almost been entirely diverted to of persons employed in the principal productive France, and that the dyeing extracts are now industries in England and Wales is taken from made there and exported from France subse- the recent Board of Trade Blue Book on British quently to Germany.

and Foreign trade and industrial conditions. In The Haytian coffee trade is likewise stated first referring to this publication by its title, it to have been more largely transferred to France is a matter of pleasure, as well as duty, to call during the past two years than before. This special attention to it. As remarked in the condition of things is considered to have reacted preface, this Blue Book is a collection of also unfavourably upon the export trade from separate memoranda, statistical tables, and Hamburg to Hayti, but it should at the same charts; the information which they afford is time be noted that the generally unfavourable very complete, and is not to be found in any financial condition of the Haytian Republic other single volume. The study of this volunie has no doubt likewise had a larger share in is essential to a correct knowledge of the subprejudicially affecting German trade with that jects now before the country, yet its value and country during recent years.

accuracy, and the magnitude of the task There have also been, during late years, accomplished in a short space of time, and in “tariff wars" between France and Spain and pressure of business, can only be adequately Portugal. The details of these conflicts are appreciated by those who are familar with not sufficiently known to enable statements to economic, industrial, and statistical questions. be made respecting them. Tariff wars it thus Public thanks are due in this matter to Sir appears lead to dislocation of commercial Alfred Bateman, Mr. Llewellyn Smith, and arrangements, and to the transfer of particular the whole staff, who have bestowed great care branches of trade from one country to another. and labour in preparing memoranda on inThey lead, however, in some instances to tricate subjects involving much research, the removal of grievances' which cannot be and in collecting and revising a

mass of otherwise remedied, and thereby prevent last- figures never before put together in a single ing injury to particular trades, and may volume.

[blocks in formation]

• Including ironfounders.

+ Excluding blacksmiths and ironfounders. # In 1901 a different classification was adopted from that of previous censuses, which makes it impossible to state a i comparative figure.

Other official publications relative to the If the amount of exports in years since 1895

occupations of the people shows the following may be taken to indicate increase or decrease approximate percentages on the latest figures in occupations, these percentages have inavailable to the total population :--Agriculture, creased since that year. The percentage of 3:47 ; cotton and woollen factories, 1.90; coal the average number of persons in the receipt mining, 2.00; iron and steel manufactures, of relief in England and Wales to the whole 0:26; shipbuilding, 0.27; total, 7.90; estimat. population, decreased gradually from 4•7 in ing the number of persons employed in minor each of the quinquennial periods, 1855-59 and industries (including fisheries) at 4:10—the 1860-64 to 2:6 in 1895-9. The averages of the relative proportion of the whole classes engaged three years, 1900-2, is below that of the five in productive labour (not including dependents years, 1895-9; but it is now rising. The on them) may be reckoned approximated at 12 statistics of emigration from the United Kingper cent. of the population of the United King- dom are really records of persons proceeding dom. The number employed in industries not to places out of Europe. They do not aid in entirely productive, such as building, and in the study of the economic question; the number distributive occupations, may be estimated at is small, less than i per cent. of the popula12 per cent. This calculation brings us to the

tion. estimate given to me by an eminent statistical Turning next to the information afforded in authority, that the total industrial population the Board of Trade Blue Book (p. 260) with of the country may be reckoned at 10,000,000. regard to the general course of wages in the

I have not been able to obtain corresponding United Kingdom, it appears that between particulars relative to the employment of the 1900 and 1903 there has been an increase of people in other countries. It may be men- remuneration in agricultural and engineering tioned, however, that according to German occupations; that it has been stationary in statistics for 1895 the percentage of the follow- building and textile trades; and that ing occupations to the total population of the

decrease has taken place in coal mining wages. empire was :-

The general course. of money wages is rather

below the level of 1900; but it is above the Agriculture, cattle rearing, and gardening

15.75

average level of the period 1860-1902. With Mining of all kinds

regard to the prices of food, clothing, and

1.09 Coal mining only...

.67

lodging, calculated with especial reference to Metal work of all kinds

1•67 the case of the labouring classes, this Blue Iron and steel industry only.. 44

Book shows (1) that the average retail price of Textile industry..

the principal foods is much below the cost

1.80

a

per cent.

25 years ago, but above the rates of six years method.” In any complete comparison beago; (2) that there is a steady growth in tween the economic conditions of industrial expenditure on clothing, but it is not proved countries, other elements - amongst them that this growth is owing to increase in the relative hours of labour, production in working selling price of these goods; (3) that rents in hours, and regularity of employment, must London have certainly increased in recent be taken into account. years; and it seems also certain that house In the United Kingdom in 1851, 37), out of rent has increased in great Britain, especially a total revenue of 48 millions were raised by in urban districts, since 1891.

indirect taxation ; in 1901, 62 out of 122. The Lastly, in connection with matters specially ratio of indirect to direct taxation has thus relating to the economic condition of the declined from 77 to 51 per cent. In 1901, 92 pe ɔple, there has been an uninterrupted and per cent. of imports were duty free, 8 remarkable increase in the total computed subject to import duty. Some of the existing capital of Post-office and Trustee Savings direct taxes, such as the death duties, are a Banks, since the first returns for the latter in consumption of capital, and therefore economi1854, and for the latter in 1862. The amount cally unsound; the burdens upon land, in the for 1902 was £197,100,000.

present position of agriculture, are unduly Comparing the conditions above indicated heavy. The limits of taxation have thus been with the corresponding returns for the three unduly contracted. It is more easy to raise countries for which particulars are included in the rates of existing duties than to impose fresh this Blue Book, the United States, France, taxes; and often wiser to lower than to abolish and Germany, it is shown that the comparative duties. rates of workmen's wages and family incomes In 1850 the proportionate distribution of our stand in the following order: United States, total export as between the protected and unL'nited Kingdom, France, Germany. As re- protected markets of the world was 56 to 44 ; gards the cost of living, it must be remembered in 1902 the proportion was 42 to 58. Taking that the staple articles of food are not identical manufactured articles separately, the proin these countries. An exact comparison portions were, in 1850, 57 to 43 ; in 1902, 38 to cannot be attempted within our limits. The 52. Allowing for certain changes affecting conclusion arrived at as between the United these markets at the two periods, “ there can Kingdom and Germany is, “That in the last be no doubt as to the effect of continental and ten years the change in the cost of food American tariffs in checking our own export has been comparatively small, and has not trade, especially in manufactured articles, greatly differed in the two countries.” If, with the group of protected countries during however, 'we take the first and last quin- the last two decades.” (Blue Book, No. 1761, quennial periods (1886-1890 and 1896-1900] p. 16). It will be remembered that “the last for which complete figures for all four two decades" is the period since the lapse of countries are available,” the fall in the prices the commercial treaty system of 1860, which of wheat and meat " was greatest in America, has been explained at p. 44. followed by the United Kingdom, France, and In finishing this part of the paper it is Germany.” As regards clothing and rent, well to quote a statement as to deposits in “the American workman spends more on his savings' banks per head of population in clothes than the English; the English more different countries by Mr. John Rolt Schoolthan either the French or the German." ing, which appeared in the Pall Mall With respect to housing, “The evidence of Gazette, of the 16th of October last:--Denthe members of the Moseley Commission on mark, £115 11s. 6d.; Switzerland, £13 os. 3d. ; the question whether the American workman Australia, £97 155. 10d.; Germany, £7 ios. 7d.; is better housed than the English, appears Norway, £7 8s. 7d. ; Belgium, £5 7s. od.; on the whole indecisive." As regards Ger- United States, £6 4s. iod. ; Austria-Hunmany, there is evidence that the condition gary, 65 8s. 4d.; Sweden, 15 Is. 5d. ; of housing of the working classes is inferior United Kingdom, 64 108. 1od. These to that which prevails in this country.” In figures are only quoted to show that our own all these matters, however, “ differences of savings' banks returns cannot be used as wants and tastes are such that the compara- affording conclusive evidence of greater tive welfare of the working classes in various prosperity existing in the United Kingdom countries, in the broadest sense of the term, than in other countries. Mr. D. A. Thomas, cannot be determined by any statistical M.A., M.P., in a paper read before the Royal

Statistical Society, on the 19th of May lastwritten as a free trade statement before the present fiscal controversy began-sums up his observations respecting the occupations of the people :-" The number employed in agriculture has again largely fallen during the past decade, while those engaged in mining other minerals than coal, in the manufacture of iron and steel, and in the textile industries, have either decreased in number, or not increased proportionately to the growth of the people at large ; and that the increase in the total number has been largely absorbed by coal mining, commerce, railway transport, distribution of goods, and building operations."

[blocks in formation]

THE QUESTION OF FOREIGN TRADE. In entering upon this part of the subject it is necessary at the outset to explain certain difficulties, and to make certain cautions. Accounts are not made out on uniform bases. The mode in which they are compiled has varied from time to time in each country. Details on those points are afforded at pp. 5 and 6 of the Board of Trade Blue Book No. 1761. The political character of certain territories has changed. Alsace, an important producing province, was included in France up to 1870 ; and since then in Germany. The Hans Towns came into the Zollverein system in 1888. Changes in Colonial possessions--extensions and losses, have likewise altered the headings under which trade with certain parts of the world (more particularly in Africa, and the East and West Indies) is to be classed. Again, recently foreign countries and colonies have been divided into “protected,” that is to say countries which maintain tariffs for protective purposes, and non-protected. It has been shown, however, in the narrative portion of this paper that the fiscal policy of European countries and the United States has greatly varied at different periods during the last half century; so here again there are no uniform bases available for long periods.

The Board of Trade reckon Austria-Hungary, Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the United States to be the “principal protected foreign countries.” Holland more especially, and Belgium in a minus degree, are noted “ protected ” countries, “ because a large part of the trade recorded in our official returns, as between the United Kingdom and Holland and Belgium, is in reality, trade with Germany, which passes through Rotterdam and Antwerp, so that it

It must be remembered that the protective effect of a tariff is not necessarily proportionate to the average level of the duties, but also depends on many other factors, such as the comparatively advanced or backward state of the home industries protected. A 25 per cent. duty in Germany may give as complete protection to its native industry as a 100 per cent. duty in a more backward country. A high duty may have no protective effect if the article to which it applies happens not to be manufactured in the country in question."

[blocks in formation]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »