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Packing.–The unit of measure in use in the exporting country is accepted in Barbados. · Thus," British - paints are sold by the hundredweight of 112 pounds and varnish by the imperial gallon. Canadian paint is usually sold on the same basis, but the unit of measure for varnish is the wine gallon. United States suppliers quote on a basis of a hundredweight of 100 pounds for paint and the wine gallon for varnish.
The containers as used in the United States, that is, round cans for prepared paints and oblong for varnish, are preferred by the local merchants.
Methods of distribution.-Paints and varnish are handled in Barbados by hardware and lumber dealers. An agency, if desired, should be established in Bridgetown which is the strategical point for doing business, as the principal importers are located there. Some exporters expect the representative in Bridgetown to canvass the Windward Islands of St. Vincent, St. Lucia, and Grenada, although these more often fall to the lot of the representative at Port of Spain, Trindad, who may likewise be expected to take care of Barbados.
Orders from Barbados are, in general, not very large; the buyers prefer to make frequent importations in preference to carrying stocks for a long period. The custom of buying far in advance does not prevail.
Terms.-The usual terms of credit are 30-days' draft against acceptance, although some shippers grant up to 90 days.
Adrertising. The house painter is generally employed in Barbados. The support of these artisans could probably be obtained by advertising through the medium of the local newspapers and by the distribution among them of literature pertaining to the qualities and uses of American paints.
Tariff.—There is no discrimination against American paints except that they are under a tariff handicap in Barbados. According to item 72 of the Barbados custom's tariff act, the duty on British and Canadian paints and colors is 60 cents per 100 pounds, and on American $1.20 per 100 pounds. The duty on British polishes and varnishes is 24 cents per 100 pounds and 48 cents per 100 pounds on American polishes and varnishes.
UNITED STATES PARTICIPATION
American Consul John J. C. Watson, Barbados, recently estimated that 80 per cent of the paint trade of Barbados has been handled by English manufacturers since the preferential tariff went into effect in 1921. The following table, prepared from United States Department of Commerce statistics, shows that practically all of the small volume of paints shipped by firms in the l'nited States consisted of ready mixed paints:
EXPORTS OF PAINTS, PIGMENTS, AND VARNISHES FROM THE UNITED STATES TO
American manufacturers supplied a large share of the market requirements during the years 1918 to 1920, and their products proved satisfactory. Increased competition from England and Canada in recent years, aided by tariff protection, has reduced American participation to a small amount. American exporters must exert every effort to serve and hold their present connections but the limited demands of the market do not warrant an extensive sales program.
BRITISH WINDWARD AND LEEWARD ISLANDS The three islands, Grenada, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia, with the chain of smaller islands and islets scattered between St. Vincent and Grenada, constitute the Windward group, of which Grenada is the southernmost island. It lies 90 nautical miles north of Trinidad and 65 nautical miles southwest of St. Vincent. The area is 120 square miles with a population of 71,500.
Although one of the smaller West Indies, Grenada is of importance. Tropical products are the chief sources of wealth. Most of the trade of St. George, the principal city, is with the retailers.
St. Vincent lies about 97 nautical miles west of Barbados and about 30 miles southwest of St. Lucia. The area is 140 square miles with a population of about 50,000. There is a fair volume of general trade, and Kingstown is the important commercial city.
Tne island of St. Lucia is one of the more important islands in the West Indies, owing to the fact that there is an excellent harbor with splendid docking facilities. It is the most northerly of the Windward group, about 25 nautical miles south of Martinique and 30 miles northeast of St. Vincent. The area is about 238 square miles, and the population approximately 55,000. Castires is the chief town of the island, with a population of about 8,000. .
The Leeward Islands form the most northerly group of the Lesser Antilles. The colony is now a federation, comprising five presidencies. These were formerly the separate colonies of Antigua, St. Kitts (with which presidency is included Nevis), Dominica, Montserrat, and the British Virgin Islands.
St. Kitts is located about 100 nautical miles from Guadeloupe. It is one of the smaller Leeward Islands with an area of about 65 square miles and population of approximately 25,000 (1921 census). The population is very largely negro, with a few English and nativeborn whites. Basseterre, capital and principal town of St. Kitts, has a population of 10,000, and is the main trading point for Nevis and Anguilla Islands. The chief dependence is upon tropical products, especially sugar. The business is of small volume and principally of a retail nature.
Dominica is located about 30 nautical miles from Guadeloupe, and the same distance from Martinique. The area is about 300 square miles; population, 39,000 (about 1 per cent white).
Montserrat is located about 27 nautical miles southwest of Antigua, and about 35 miles from Nevis. The area is about 33 square miles; population, 15,000. The principal town of Montserrat is Plymouth. The total trade of the island is small.
The total population of the colony of the Leeward Islands (census of 1921) was 122,242.
The total value of imports into the colony during the year 1922 amounted to $3,341,180, as compared with $4,076,351 in 1921. Exports for the same years were valued at $3,159,017 and $3,636,246, respectively.
PAINT TRADE OF THE BRITISH WINDWARD AND LEEWARD ISLANDS
Detailed statistics for recent years are not available, but the trade is exceedingly small. The scale of wages for the laborers is low and their purchasing power limited. Many of them build their houses of wattled sticks with a palm-thatch roof. Building construction in the cities is quite modern. For example, Basseterre is a fairly clean and well-kept little city. Most of the houses are of frame construction, while some are of coral block for the first story, with frame above. There are a few structures of solid stone.
The trade of these islands resembles in many respects that of Barbados and Trinidad and is frequently handled by an agent covering the entire section.
There is a tariff preferential in favor of British and Canadian paints which makes it difficult for American manufacturers to compete. Statistics of American shipments to the Windward and Leeward Islands are included in the table with shipments to the Bahamas.
DUTCH WEST INDIES
The Dutch West Indies consist of the following islands: Curacao, 212 square miles, population 34,640; Bonaire, 95 square miles, population 6,983; Aruba, 69 square miles, population 9,076; St. Martin, 21 square miles, population 2,900; St. Eustatius, 7 square miles, popu
lation 1,368; Saba, 5 square miles, population 2,229; total area, 410 square miles; total population, 57,196.
The white inhabitants are Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese. About 85 per cent of the entire population are negroes.
The most important island is Curacao, which, with Bonaire and Aruba, lie about 60 miles north of the coast of Venezuela. The other three are in the Leeward Group, about 500 miles from Curacao.
The important commercial city is Willemstad, situated on the south side of the island of Curacao, about 16 miles west of Point Canum. The city lies on both sides of St. Anns Bay. The other islands of the Dutch West Indies are very small and are dependent upon Curacao.
The commercial languages are Dutch, Spanish, and English. Spanish is most commonly used, but English is ordinarily understood by business men.
The leading exports are aloes, divi-divi, hides and skins, phosphate, salt, straw hats, and Venezuelan oil. The last-named product is brought to Curacao in tank steamers and refined at a refinery controlled by the Royal Dutch Shell interests.
Total imports during 1922 were valued at $7,519,850, and in 1923 the amount was $11,280,683, of which the United States supplied 24 per cent. Exports for the same period were $5,753,105 and $6,920,973, respectively. Of the latter amount 25 per cent was destined to the United States.
MARKET FOR PAINTS, PIGMENTS, AND VARNISHES
Paints and varnishes are not manufactured in the Dutch West Indies and, as will be noted from the following statistics of imports, it is an exceptionally small market for these commodities. The table shows the imports of paints only, statistics pertaining to varnish not being available.
The buildings of the towns are of stone and cement, the architecture being typically Dutch. It is a bit of old Holland transported to the waters of the Caribbean. Water paints are used on the esterior of these structures. Prepared paints are chiefly used for interior finishing, the most popular colors being white and green. Wall paper is used to a small extent for interior decoration. Principally clear varnish is sold in the Dutch West Indies, but the demand is small, as is also the case with respect to enamels.
Probably the largest user of paints in Curacao is the oil refinery, which is increasing its plant considerably. There is some demand for marine paints for use on hulls of sailing vessels which trade with the islands.
OTHER MARKET FACTORS
Quality. There are no governmental regulations relative to the composition or marking of paints and varnish. While the hot climate does not affect either varnishes or enamels while in the sealed containers, it has been observed that they crack and peel in a comparatively short space of time after application to the interior walls. In general, household paints and varnishes are purchased more from a standpoint of price rather than quality.
Packing.–The metric system is used for weights and measures. Various sizes of cans are imported, ranging from one-half kilo to 10 kilos. The American prepared paints are imported in round cans and varnish in oblong cans.
Method of distribution.-Each retailer in the Dutch West Indies imports his own goods direct. The agencies of many foreign houses for import lines of all kinds are established at Willemstadt, and the representatives frequently are authorized to make sales to the merchants who visit Curacao from Maracaibo and Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. Other agents are definitely authorized to canvass northwestern Venezuela, including the departments of Falcon and Maracaibo, which are more accessible to Curacao than to Caracas, by reason of the frequent steamship connections.
Requisitions of the oil company, previously referred to, are sent to the head office in the Netherlands, where purchases are made.
Terms.-The credit usually extended to the importing retailers is for 30 days, although if the firm is not well known, payment is arranged through banks on receipt of goods against documents.
Advertising.–No special advertisements are used to further the sale of paint and varnish; the population is small and the dealers are known to the public.
Tariff.—The import tariff on paints and varnishes is 3 per cent ad valorem.
Trade-mark registration. Application for the registration of a trade-mark for Curacao should be made to the Hulpbureau voor den Industrieelen Eigendom, Willemstad.
UNITED STATES PARTICIPATION
Esports of paints, pigments, and varnishes from the United States to the Dutch West Indies, according to American statistics, do not show any phenomenal increase since 1913, in which year the total value was $3,718. The trade rose to $12,147 during 1919, but decreased to $5,240 in 1923. The trade, as the following table shows, consists chiefly of ready-mixed paints.