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metals to the amount of $38,785,275, and of other products to $21,373, 148.
The exports of articles from the United States to Mexico, according to the data of the United States Government, in which the trade by rail is not included, amounted to $10,886,288; and, although the Mexican Government has not yet published its statistics relating to the same year, it may be asserted that those figures hardly represents onethird, or, at the most, one-half of the actual exports.
I should further state that at least 60 per cent. of goods from the United States imported into Mexico are free of duty, for they consist principally of machinery, rails, cars, ties, and other railway materials which figure on the free list of the Mexican tariff.
Before concluding I think it advisable to refer to the last speech on this subject, made on the 15th instant by the Delegate from the Argentine Republic. It appears to me that if the United States should conclude a reciprocity treaty with the Argentine Republic, by which this country would agree to receive the former's wool free of duty, this product would be greatly benefited, because it would bring here a higher price than in any other market to which it might be sent, competing with those of other countries not enjoying that advantage.
The total wool importation in the United States in the last fiscal year was $17,974,515, and of that amount only $908,969, or 7 per cent., was Argentine wool. While competition exists between the English, Australian, and native wools, which bring a high price here, the present prices will not diminish considerably, even if Argentine wool should be admitted free, and if, notwithstanding the duties they now pay, they can compete with the rest, it will at once be seen what an advantageous position they would have if they were admitted free of duty, while the tax upon
the others should remain. Probably for this reason the far-seeing Argentine Government proposed years ago to the United States the celebration of a reciprocity treaty, as we were informed by Mr. Delegate Saenz Peña.
It is, moreover, a wise policy on the part of this Government, should it have to reduce its import duties to prevent a surplus in the public Treasury, or to lower the cost of raw materials, to gain some advantage by reducing them. If, for instance, all the foreign wools were admitted free of duty the United States would gain no advantage other than the reduction of its import duties; but if the reduction were made in favor of only one of the countries producing that article, and, in return for the proportionate advantages obtained by this Government, it would gain, moreover, in favor of its manufactures the advantages they might obtain by means of reciprocity.
I do not pretend to advance any idea respecting the possibility of bringing about a treaty on these bases between the Argentine and the United States, because I am not authorized to speak in the name of either of the two Governments, nor am I even acquainted with their views upon this important subject; and I merely dot down these thoughts to demonstrate that the Argentine Republic can not be entirely indifferent to the negotiation of reciprocity treaties, and that for the same reason the majority report of the committee does not propose anything which could be considered as unfavorable, or as inadvisable, for that nation.
To the mind of the Delegate of the Argentine Republic, free-trade with the United States would not affect in the least the treasury of his country, for, as he informed us, the United States themselves, notwithstanding its protective duties on cotton and woolen manufactures, receive from foreign nations great quantities of these articles, and this is another of the reasons he advanced for not signing the majority report. During the last fiscal year the United States imported cotton manufactures to the amount of $26,805,942, and woolens to the amount of $19,859,331. Mr. Henderson, a Delegate from the United States, replied to this objection in terms which, although well founded in part, did not appear to me to be conclusive in the premises, for he said that the cause of the importations of foreign articles similar to those manufactured here was to be found in the special taste of the consumers, and he cited the case of beer.
Although this may explain the importation of some articles, I do not think it explains that of all. If the data of the Statistical Bureau of this Government regarding the importations of cottons and woolens during the last fiscal year are examined carefully, it will be found that the manufactures of both materials imported here are those done by hand, or those which require a great deal of hand-work, which, because of its being cheaper in Europe than here, can not be manufactured here profitably, and have, therefore, to be imported from abroad, and principally from Great Britain. But ordinary goods, woolen as well as cotton, which represent nearly nine-tenths of machine work and one-tenth of manual labor, can not compete with those of this country. Under these circumstances, if the Argentine Republic should admit free of duty the ordinary woolen and cotton goods of the United States it would necessarily bring about somewhat of a reduction in the import duties now imposed on these goods coming from Europe. And this brings me to another point of the Delegate from the Argentine Republic.
In reply to an interrogation by Mr. Delegate Estee, he stated that the import duties of his country furnished twothirds of the public revenue.
I have afterwards seen the accuracy of these figures corroborated by the statistics of the Argentine Republic which I have been able to consult. To my mind, this fact demonstrates the soundness of the remarks contained in the majority report of the committee regarding these two points: First, that all the American nations derive their principal revenue from import duties imposed on foreign goods; and, second, that these duties will be more or less considerably reduced if the system of absolute free-trade were adopted between the nations, including, of course, the United States.
The principal reasons advanced by the minority for not signing the recommendation in favor of reciprocity treaties were: First, that to their mind the Conference is not authorized to consider reciprocity treaties; and, second, that such a recommendation would consequently be equivalent to officiousness towards the American nations.
To the mind of some Delegates, and especially those representing the United States, the first section of the law
of the 24th of May, 1888, which called this Conference together, authorized it not only to recommend but to celebrate reciprocity treaties upon commerce and arbitration, while the other subjects included in the second section of the law were only recommended to be discussed or considered. (The law uses the English “ to consider.")
But there is another conclusive reason in favor of the recommendation of the majority, and it is that, supposing the Conference were not authorized but to consider the subjects included in the second section of the inviting act, the second clause of which speaks of the customs union, it should be remembered that understanding customs union to mean unrestricted reciprocity, it is clear that the Conference can recommend the celebration of treaties of reciprocity without restrictions, and if it has the right to propose absolute reciprocity, it evidently has the right to recommend partial reciprocity, because the principle of law that the greater includes the lesser is well established. It is therefore untenable to maintain that the Conference has not the right to recommend the celebration of partial reciprocity treaties.
Mr. Henderson, in his speech replying to that of the Argentine Delegate, informed us that in the Committee on Customs Union he proposed the holding of a special conference to study this subject, and that this idea was not accepted by his colleagues. In deference to this gentleman, I think it advisable to explain, in the name of the majority of the committee, the reason why his plan was not accepted, notwithstanding the deference with which the committee received his suggestions. To our mind the difficulties in the way of a customs union, even considering as such unrestricted reciprocity, are of such a nature that it is not possible to overcome them for some time, at least while the United States maintains its economic policy unchanged, and when this will come about, can not be foreseen. Under these circumstances the holding of a new conference, called especially for this purpose, would give no better result than that has been reached in the present Conference, and it would be little loyal to our Governments if we caused them to be represented anew in another conference charged with the study of a subject which we are convinced is not at present practicable.
Mr. Henderson also read to us the draft of a report which he submitted to the committee, and which, as the Conference may have noted, is substantially the same as that of the majority, and this being so, and considering the fact that he asserted on another occasion that the majority made several modifications and suppressions in its report to accommodate it to the views of the Delegate from the United States, it would seem natural that he should sign that report without reservations. He did not think it advisable so to do, and the reservation with which he affixed his signature to the majority report and the circumstance of his having read his draft of a report, which right he reserved to himself upon signing the former, place him really in the position of having given another minority report, although in substance his special report is the same as that of the majority.
I shall end by referring to some of the statements of the Delegates from the Argentine Republic, made when the report of the Committee on Communications on the Atlantic was under discussion, because they relate to the subject I have in hand.
I do not think much importance should be attached to the ideas expressed or discussions arising in the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, so long as they do not assume the form of a committee report, for as they are represented therein the economic opinions held by the different political parties of this country, it is natural that each one should present what he believes to be in consonance with his views and interests, and the result of its deliberations, even after presentation to the House in the shape of a committee or majority report, would barely be a matter for this Conference to take up. In the case to which I refer, the discussion was upon what it was said the subcommittee having in hand the preparation of a plan modifying the present tariff of this country, would propose to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives. Not long ago, for instance, it was asserted that the