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stance, shipped from Port of Spain is from this source. The tonka beans are a product of the Orinoco River Valley of Venezuela, but are cured in Trinidad and exported from there. Cacao is the leading product, and this is marketed in the early months of the year. The export movement to this island is fairly even, shipments being highest in November and December, and in March, April, and Mar.
Barbados sends abroad principally sugar, molasses, rum, and cotton, and its imports follow the seasonal movement as in the case of the other “sugar islands." Shipments are high in the last quarter of the year, immediately preceding the movement of the sugar crop and continue at a fairly high level during the first quarter of the year, the period of lesser shipments comprising the months from May to August. The rest of the British islands are dependent on staple tropical products which are generally marketed in the early months of the year, and shipments for November, December, and January are the greatest, although the figures show considerable variations from month to month.
Shipments to the Dutch West Indies do not show a well-defined purchasing season, the values varying but little from month to month, with those of September a little above and those of June, July, and August a little below the average.
The absence of any well-defined seasonal movement of goods to the Dutch West Indies is accounted for by the fact that this group has a greater diversification of industry than is enjoyed in the other islands. Agriculture is not such an important factor, as much of the land is unsuited to cultivation, the only exportable crops being divi-divi, the pod of which contains a high percentage of tannin, and aloes. The other exports are phosphate, petroleum products, straw hats, and salt. Moreover, the purchases of the Lake Maracaibo region of Venezuela, many of which pass through Curacao, are not of a seasonal character.
Agriculture is the basis of the trade of the French West Indies, and, as in most of the other islands, their purchases are largels determined by the amount realized from the products of the soil. Hence our shipments to that group show the heaviest movements in the first and last quarters. The most important crops of the French islands are sugar, cacao, coffee, and vanilla beans, and the manufacture of rum is also carried on extensively.
Shipments to the Virgin Islands conform to the general trend.
It will thus be seen that the purchasing seasons depend on the harvest seasons, and world markets for the agricultural products of the islands. Taken by quarters, the last quarter is the greatest by a good margin, the first and second come next in that order (although the variation between these two is not great), and the period of smallest movement is in the summer months, or the third quarter.
In planning sales trips it should be borne in mind, of course, that such visits should be timed prior to the import peak, as a certain time must necessarily elapse between order taking and the arrival of the merchandise.
FOREIGN COMPETITION The United States enjoys a considerable share of the West Indian mport trade, but vigorous efforts are being made by European ountries and Canada to wrest some of this trade from us. The Inited States is favored by proximity, regular and frequent steam. hip service, long-established business relations, and the known and avorable reputation of American products. In some instances cometitors have succeeded in obtaining a greater share of this trade or themselves, but the United States still retains a steady volume of usiness in that region.
Despite the increased competition encountered in this field, we lave increased our shipments to it in the past two years, although ur percentage of the trade decreased in some instances. While we lave perhaps dropped in the percentage of trade since 1920, it is to le remembered that our position at that time was a result of the ibnormal conditions incident to the war. With the resumption of rade activity on the part of European nations it was entirely logical hat they should recover at least a part of their pre-war share. The hifting of trade during the war is illustrated by the movement of Haitian coffee. Because of transportation difficulties the United States afforded the only outlet for this product, although it is of i type and flavor always more in demand in Europe than here. In 1920 we took about 52 per cent of Haiti's exports, consisting largely of coffee, while in 1924 our share had dropped to below 10 per cent. American business in the European colonies in this region was also considerably hampered by the exchange situation, and this probably did more to aid the efforts of European competitors in this market than did any other factor.
For the past several years Germany has been endeavoring to recover part of its lost markets, and competition from this source has been making itself felt more and more with the continued improvement in that country. This competition may be expected to increase rather than diminish. While Germany has not succeeded in gaining any large percentage of the trade, it is noted that the past several years have recorded increases in its share. The lines in which it is offering competition are enameled ware, shelf hardware and cutlery, machinery, electrical goods, paper and paper products, the cheaper grades of jewelry, glassware, fertilizers, office supplies, typewriters, watches, chemical products, cement, blankets and blanket cloth, belting and hose, textiles, earthenware, boots and shoes, wire, sewing machines, pianos and other musical instruments, paints, and furniture. In fact Germany is competing in practically all lines of manufactured goods. In a market such as the West Indies, where price is an essential consideration, the cheaper article is often given the call even though it is not of equal quality. Part of Germany's gain in this region during the past two years has been occasioned by large shipments of oriental rice reexported from Germany.
The preferred position enjoyed by France in its West Indian islands offsets in a measure our advantage of proximity. Nevertheless, we furnish to Martinique and Guadeloupe 28 and 31 per cent, respectively, of their total import requirements. A feature of our trade with these islands is the enormous preponderance of our exports over our imports. Our purchases there were only $35,645 in
1923 and $217,779 in 1924, whereas we sold to them goods to the value of $2,460,867 and $2,528,967, respectively.
While French competition is greatest in the French West Indies, it is also felt in other sections, particularly in Haiti. In the latter place French is the language spoken, and it is easy to carry on busi. ness transactions between the two countries. This, coupled with the fact that France is the best market for Haitian coffee and the fact that France is accorded preferred treatment in customs br Haiti, tends to stimulate the purchase of French merchandise. CDder its agreement with Haiti, France is accorded a reduction of 3314 per cent of the total of the import duties leviable, on the wharfage, weighing, and inspection charges, and on the 3313 and 50 per cent surtaxes specified in the minimum Haitian tariff, in so far as that tariff is fixed by the law of September 6, 1906, on a specified list of articles. This list is quite extensive and covers practically all goods that would be received from France.
Competition from France comes largely in the lines of perfumes, cosmetics, toilet preparations, drugs, chemicals, and soaps; but the French do some business in such items as jewelry and plated ware, copper manufactures, textiles, earthenware, paper and paper products, automobile tires and other rubber products, and iron and steel materials—such as kitchen utensils, cutlery, firearms, tools, and implements-food products and confections, machinery, and furniture. France also furnishes large quantities of spirituous and some malt liquors, in which lines the United States, of course, no longer competes.
Spain, Italy, the Scandinavian countries, and others in Europe also obtain a share of the trade of the West Indies, but competition from these sources is in specific lines only, and while important in these particular commodities it does not bulk large in the aggregate. A few of these lines may be noted, such as dairy products from Denmark and the Netherlands, cement from Norway, Belgium, and Denmark, food products from Spain and Italy, and hats and caps from Italy.
The combined imports of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which together comprise the island formerly known as Hispaniola, are the largest of the group under consideration, although individually they are outranked by Jamaica. The United States enjoys a larger percentage of the import trade of these two countries than in the case of any other unit with the exception of the Virgin Islands of the United States. The United Kingdom is the nearest competitor in these countries, as it is in practically all others in the group. but its share amounts to only about 6 per cent in the case of the Dominican Republic and less than 7 per cent in the case of Haiti. The share of other European countries in this trade does not bulk large, and, aside from Germany and France, the remainder are credited with only a small percentage each. Adding the share of the noncontiguous territories to that of continental United States, our total trade in the Dominican Republic nearly equals our share in Haiti. The percentage furnished by our noncontiguous territories amounted to 7.55 per cent in the case of the Dominican Republic in 1923, bringing our total share up to 79.03, although in 1924 this figure dropped to 73.6.
The following table gives the figures of imports into the Dominican Republic and Haiti, by countries, for the years mentioned:
$5, 769,061 $35, 848, 791 $20, 645, 484 $10, 318, 906 $13,041, 412 $14, 616, 022
730, 191 1, 536, 556 645, 069 976, 327
1, 128, 523 526, 167
198, 481 1, 677, 853
283,921 380, 158 428, 954 239, 961 334, 631 616, 717 600, 533
1, 260, 896 537, 870 439, 884 820, 875
496, 804 7, 454, 425
609, 898 1,990, 776 2,049, 268 2,888, 479 3, 585, 074 9, 272, 278 46, 526, 876 24, 585, 327 14, 317, 497 18, 245, 082 21, 580, 571
The greatest competition to the United States in the Caribbean area comes from the United Kingdom, and British products in many lines enjoy a favorable reputation. This is particularly true of textiles, which have a reputation for high quality consistent with price, the competition coming mostly in the high-grade materials. The United States enjoys an advantage in the cheap and middleprice lines, but this is offset, somewhat in the case of the British islands by the tariff preference which is accorded the “mother country." The preference which Great Britain enjoys varies with the different islands of the group and is governed by the trade agreement with Canada. Although competition from the United Kingdom is greatest in the case of the British islands, it is feit in all parts of this field.
The imports from the United Kingdom exceed those from the United States in the case of Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, and the British share is close to ours in the other islands of the British West Indies. In the case of the Dutch West Indies Great Britain is second to but far below the United States. In the import statistics of the British West Indies the United Kingdom always figures prominently and to a lesser extent in the case of the other islands. The United States, with 20 per cent, takes third place in the import trade of Barbados, where the United Kingdom and Canada hold first and second place, respectively, with 33 and 24 per cent.
The United Kingdom supplies a wide range of articles to the West Indies, including considerable quantities of cotton and woolen textiles; foodstuffs, such as butter, biscuits, confectionery, canned goods; manufactures of leather, such as bags, saddles, and harness: polishes; cement; brewery products; buckets, pails, and tubs; chinaware and porcelain; hardware and cutlery; galvanized iron, bars
, and sheets; wire; paints; soap; paper products; and many others
. The United Kingdom has improved its position in this market during the past several years, as will be brought out below in the discussion of British and Canadian competition. The position of the United States in the market was, however, due in part to abnormal conditions heretofore mentioned, and the markets which have been won back by the United Kingdom are partly those that turned to the United States when the supply from Europe Fas cut off.
COMPETITION BY CANADA Canada has evidenced considerable interest in the past few years in the extension of its export trade in the West Indian field and has offered serious competition in the sale of certain products. It has made some progress in the case of the British possessions, where it is favored by the Canadian-West Indies trade agreement of 1920, while in others, such as Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Canadian suecess has been negligible. Canada now has two trade commissioners in this area and is making a determined drive for a larger share of the business. The fact that Canada is, to a considerable extent, the banker of the islands also favors the extension of its trade.
The Canadian-West Indies trade agreement of 1920 superseded the more limited agreement of 1913, under which a stated number of products were given a mutual preference of 20 per cent. By the provisions of the 1920 agreement the list of products given preference was greatly extended and the amount of preference increased. Canada granted to the products of the British West Indies, with cer tain specified exceptions, a preference of 50 per cent of the duties imposed on similar goods imported from any foreign country. In return for these concessions the British West Indies have given to the products of Canada uniform reductions in their tariffs, ranging from 25 to 50 per cent, as follows: Bahamas and Jamaica, 25 per cent; Leeward and Windward Islands, 3342 per cent; Barbados and Trinidad, 50 per cent. The agreement also provided for a more regular and frequent steamship service between Canada and the islands.
While this agreement was drawn up in 1920 and was put into effect at various times by the different islands, it really became effective in 1922. The preferences accorded Canada were also generalized in favor of the United Kingdom, so that the products of these two countries are accorded equal treatment. The progress of trade in the British West Indies during the course of the past few years is indicated in the following table, which gives the import trade of the various islands of the British group, by countries of origin, with percentages, for the years 1920 to 1923, inclusive, so far as the figures are available: