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by the master's personal declaration before the proper customs officer. The inward manifest may be used in verifying the cargo, but should not be accepted in lieu of an invoice. The committee will present for the consideration of the Conference a proposed international form of manifest, and supplementary manifest. On the exportation of merchandise every shipper should be required, under penalty for failure, to lodge at the custom-house a special manifest of the goods sent by him out of the country, containing full particulars respecting the character, quality, value, and destination of the goods, so that the Governments may have authentic data for statistical records and reports. (See Recommendation 1.)
il. Invoices for customs purposes should be made out in the language of either the country of import or of export, and should declare the wholesale market value of the goods at the date of exportation in the market whence imported, and all amounts or quantities should be expressed in figures only. The value so declared should be accepted, prima facie, as a basis for estimating ad valorem duties. It is recommended that the fee for consular certification throughout republican America be established at the uniform rate of $2.50 for each invoice; but that no fee be required for duplicates of an original invoice, nor in any case where the value does not exceed $100. (Rec. 2.)
12. Entries of imported merchandise should be made out in the language of the country of importation, and should name the vessel and the importer; entries should agree with bills of lading and with invoices in all material particulars, and the bill of lading and invoice should be lodged with the customs authorities at the time of entry. In case any of the packages covered by an invoice should fail to arrive by reason of short shipment, entry should be allowed of the missing packages by means of a properly verified extract or copy of the original invoice. Wherever oaths are now required in customs procedure they should be abolished, because they entail needless hardship and loss of time upon the importer in requiring his personal attendance at the custom-house. The signature of the importer to his declaration for entry should be invested with all the penal responsibilities now attached to his affidavit. (Rec. 3.)
13. Special facilities without the imposition of unnecessary charges should be accorded to goods in transit by railroad or water transportation through one country to another, provided they be kept in bond during such transit, and that the transit be made under the supervision of the customs authorities, but without any verification of contents of packages. (Rec. 4.)
14. The hours and regulations for the lading and unlading of vessels should be made as liberal as local circumstances will permit, and special means should be provided for their entrance and clearance before and after the regular hours for business at the custom-house, and on all days when general business is suspended. (Rec. 6.)
15. The abolition of all fees and charges in the customs service is desirable, and none should be exacted except such as are fixed and published by due authority; whenever they do exist, they should be limited to the actual cost of the service rendered, and never be imposed for the purpose of raising public revenue. (Rec. 17.)
16. In cases where the rate or amount of duty is doubtful or disputed, the importer should be permitted to deposit, under protest, the amount claimed by the customs authorities and to take possession of his goods; his duties should be liquidated, as promptly as practicable, in accordance with the final decision on his protest, and any excess of deposit refunded without abatement. (Rec. 8.)
17. The committe earnestly recommends the adoption, in the principal ports of the countries here represented, of a system of bonded warehouses similar to that which wherever it has been tried has demonstrated its convenience to importers and its advantage to the national revenue. By availing himself of this system the importer can delay the payment of duties until he has effected the sale of the articles imported, or if he prefers to export them he can do so without payment of duty. To secure this privilege he must store the imported merchandise at his own risk and expense in some designated warehouse which is kept under the special supervision of the collector of customs, and
must furnish satisfactory bonds for the payment of the duty or the exportation of the merchandise within a prescribed period. The importer, under this system, may withdraw his goods in lots of one or more packages, or if the merchandise be in bulk, in stated quantities according to the demands of his business, upon paying all duties and costs of labor and storage which have accrued upon the portion withdrawn for consumption.
The Government is thus absolutely protected against loss, while the importer is relieved from the necessity of forcing his goods upon an unsatisfactory market. (Rec. 9.)
18. Peculiar hardship is suffered by importers in some of the countries from the revision of invoices by the supreme authority at the capital. In case of doubt or controversy, where a deposit of the maximum duty is exacted and the amount is paid under protest, this revision by the central authorities is necessary in the interest of justice, but in all other cases, except where fraud or culpable negligence appears, the merchant, upon paying the assessed duty at the custom-house, should receive his goods exempted from further liability for reclamations which may absorb his apparent profits. (Rec. 15).
19. Internal duties upon imported commodities which have paid duty at the frontier are intolerable burdens upon and obstructions to international commerce. As soon as the legally assessed import duties are paid, on arrival, the goods become a part of the general stock of commodities, and should thereafter be treated in the same manner as domestic products. An increase of import duties at the frontier is preferable to the vexatious system of internal duties. There should be no interior control nor supervision of duty-paid imported goods. A custom-house delivery of goods should entitle them to all the privileges and exemptions accorded to domestic merchandise. (Rec. 15.)
20. In the general interest of the American peoples, it is urged that prompt information be circulated by the governments of the outbreak or prevalence of contagious diseases among cattle or other live stock, in order that such importations may be subjected to a proper quaranB.-The classification, examination, and valuation of mer
21. With regard to the customs examination of merchandise, it need only be said that it should be conducted with as little delay, expense, and damage as possible, and should be limited to a reasonable verification of the statements of the entry and invoice. This suggestion applies as well to examinations conducted for the purpose of verifying the dutiable value of ad valorem merchandise as to examinations for ascertaining weights and quantities for the assessment of specific duty. The committee has interpreted the phrase "Valuation of merchandise" as meaning its invoice valuation, and where duties are specific this valuation should be received without question or the necessity of verification, except in case of suspected fraud. (Rec. 10.)
22. Merchandise contained in the baggage of tourists and immigrants, not exceeding a limited amount, should be admitted to entry and payment of duties without bill of lading or invoice, and tools of trade or occupation and other articles brought by passengers in reasonable quantities, for their own personal use and not for sale, should be exempted from duty. (Rec. 11.)
23. Actual samples of merchandise consigned, in reasonable quantities, solely for inspection, or contained in the baggage of bona fide commercial travelers and intended to be used in the prosecution of their business, should, in the interests of commerce, be admitted duty free, under such restrictions as may be deemed necessary. (Rec. 11.)
24. The system of appraisement for ad valorem duties is so intricate and voluminous in its details, and is so little likely to be practiced in extenso by many of the countries represented in the Conference, that the committee has decided not to recommend the consideration of that system.
25. The assessment of duty upon the gross weight of dutiable products seems onerous, but where the rate has been adjusted with due regard to the insignificant value of the taxed materials used for packing any particular class of goods, the duty upon the “ gross weight” has the great advantage of certainty and simplicity, and avoids troublesome questions about tare and weight. Through carefulness in packing and the use of light, strong coverings, importers can minimize the tax. Whenever “net weight” is required the tares should be regulated, as far as practicable, by schedules officially prepared and published. (Rec. 16.)
26. Merchandise which has been recovered from a wrecked or stranded vessel should be allowed to be entered without invoice at the custom-house, by either the salvors or importers, for appraisement by the proper authorities, duties to be paid on the appraised value. The importers should also be accorded the privilege of abandoning to the Government merchandise included in any invoice, and seriously damaged by sea transportation, free of liability for duty, provided such merchandise represents ten per centum of the total value of the invoice, and whenever goods have been surrendered to the insurance companies the latter should be recognized as the rightful owners of the same for all customs purposes. (Rec. 13.)
C.—Methods of imposing fines and penaltres. 27. Against the imposition of fines and excessive duties there should be granted the right of appeal to some tribunal which would promptly investigate all the facts and take into account the good or bad faith of the importer, as may appear in evidence. The importer should be allowed to appear personally or by representative before such tribunal, and the decision should in such cases be made without delay. Clerical errors, minor inaccuracies, and informalities in the entry or invoice, or in any customs proceedings which do not affect the amount of collectible duty, should not, in themselves, be deemed sufficient ground for imposing fines and penalties. (Rec. 17.)
28. The committee is deeply impressed with the belief that equity and regularity of administration are in constant danger of infraction whenever officers of customs are allowed to participate in any share of penalties or forfeit