« AnteriorContinuar »
We are perfectly willing to go back to the Payne-Aldrich bill, and make it 40 and 50; but please stop there.
I am going to tell you, if you have not ever tried olive oil, tell your wife to fry a little fish for you in it, and then you will know how good olive oil is. It should be substituted for a great many fats, and I want to tell you if that were done your stomach would feel a great deal better.
There have been other people before your committee on olive oil, and they made the difference from bulk and canned goods, some asking 30 cents, some 15, and some 20. We claim that 10 cents is sufficient. But if you can not see your way clear, we are perfectly willing to accept 35 cents a gallon bulk and 50 cents a gallon in cans. But do not forget that a great part of the olive oil coming from Italy we are using your tinplate to make containers, and if you could see your way clear in your tariff to be able to give a preferential rate to the people who use American raw products, since every can of oil from Italy to this country is made of American tinplate. Yet, just because in order to protect California, which does not make enough oil to supply any State, you are going to have olive oil paying the highest rates-if you think that is right, go to it. But I know you are going to reduce the tariff to what you think is just, and the justice is to get back to the Payne-Aldrich bill, when the conditions were normal and you will make no mistake to use that basis.
We have another article from California, and that is cherries, which had formerly been free since the beginning of history of the United States. They have been taken from the free list of the tariff act of 1913 and assessed at 3 cents per pound in the emergency tariff, and the Fordney bill puts it back to 1} cents a pound.
Gentlemen, there were in former years 75,000 barrels of cherries coming from Italy, and only 3,000 barrels are grown in the State of Oregon. But the cherries coming from Italy are what we call small for different purposes and are used by the American manufacturers here. Are we going to put a duty on cherries, which are needed by the American manufacturers, and say we are going to deprive our poor classes in the summer time, and particularly the Jewish race, from getting a nice cherry drink from our fountains? It is only fair to state--and I would be perfectly willing to give California 3 cents a pound, if they can show cherries are competitive. It is a different quality of cherries. They do not grow there. The Italian cherries
. are small, while those grown on the Pacific coast are big cherries. The Fordney bill probably has given some consideration to my argument, since I spoke before them and they reduced it.
Senator McCUMBER. This argument is made in favor of the higher duty of our growers of cherries in Oregon: Namely, that the cherry in Italy, being so very much smaller, there are a greater number of cherries to the quart and to the pound, and in use of a single cherry in the top of ice cream or similar purpose, that you get so many per quart that they can take the place entirely of the American cherry, which is a very much larger fruit and perhaps equal if not more luscious. They base their claim on account of the number of cherries, the very thing which you speak of.
Mr. SCARAMELLI. That is just exactly what I say, because they are small they are preferred and demanded by American manufacturers,
because they can use them to better advantage, and then even in Oregon if they could use the big ones there would not be enough to supply the industry of the United States.
Going to another article, and that is tomato paste, and Italian tomatoes: The tomato paste under the Payne-Aldrich bill was 40 per cent ad valorem; under the Underwood it went back to 45, and the Fordney bill has just suggested 28 per cent. I can only state that the reason they only increased it a little is because I argued the matter to them and it probably had some weight.
I have a factory in central Maryland which cost $35,000, and I made this paste. (Exhibiting sample to the committee.] This other sample is the imported. [Exhibiting another sample.) They are both the same size, 200 cans to a case, and the same quality inside. I can lay this down for $8 a case. We contracted last summer at $10 a case. This sindicating] cost $14 f. o. b. Naples, with $3.50 duty, makes $17.50, and with case at 50 cents, makes $18. I find I do not need any protection.
Senator McCUMBER. How can you sell that, or practically have to sell it, for $18 in competition with another which you can sell for $8?
Mr. SCARAMELLI. We do not sell enough of it; that is the trouble. It used to be a bigger industry than it is, and it is coming back now. But, of course, I might say to you that the flavor of this is better than the flavor of the other, because it is due to the nature of the tomatoes. There is more food value in this shape of tomatoes than there is to the American, and it has a particular taste which is preferred by immigrants. They want them, and are willing to pay $5
While the article is different, we do not need any more protection. At the present rate of exchange I am figuring on making 41 cents when I say $18.
So then we have now had a great deal of trouble in establishing market values. We would much prefer that you would turn back this article also to a specific rate of duty. Before the war, under the Payne-Aldrich we used to get an average of $1.25 per case duty; we are willing to take $2 and make the price $1.50 gross; $3.50 is not fair, because while we want to increase the revenue of this country, we do not believe it is fair to expect that the poorer class would pay $2.50 duty on a case of goods like this. (Indicating.)
Senator WALSHI. Are there any other manufacturers of tomato paste than yourself?
Mr. SCARAMELLI. Plenty of them.
Senator Walsh. Then, do you claim that the tariff simply gires you an opportunity to make profits?
Mr. SCARAMELLI. No; it does not make any profit for us.
Senator Walsh. You say you can manufacture yours for less than the imported ?
Mr. SCARAMELLI. Yes.
Senator Walsh. Is there not a temptation to raise your price in harmony with the figure the imported brings in order to make all that you can?
Mr. SCARAMELLI. Certainly; if you mean that you are going to have $3.50 I am going to raise my price also.
a case more.
Senator Walsh. So the tariff amounts to being a part of additional profit to you?
Mr. SCARAMELLI. Yes. I believe in protection, but if I can make a reasonable profit I do not want any more.
Senator MCLEAN. Is there domestic competition ?
Mr. SCARAMELLI. Of course, consumption and demand regulates the price of almost anything, but the main question is, just so long as the American manufacturer can sell these products which he makes, why do you ask us $6.50 on the imported, when $2 would be plenty, and you be treating the people with justice?
Here is a can of tomatoes. Another thing, $4 in the Fordney bill has reduced the tariff down to 10 per cent. Of course, that is right. By 25 per cent in the Democratic tariff they reduced it back to 10 per cent. Here is the article [exhibiting can of tomatoes to the committee). It is not manufactured in this country. This [indicating] is the shape of tomatoes we can grow over there, and I have a factory in central Maryland, and I tried to grow these tomatoes there, but the farmers would not grow them, because they said it takes too long to pick them. These goods are the same size case and sell at $3, and the domestic sells at $1.40. You need no protection on them, and the Fordney bill did really rightfully reduce it to 10 per cent, but we claim that instead of keeping it at 10 per cent, which causes a lot of trouble in establishing the market value, that we should go back to a specific duty and make it three-fourths cent per pound, which will give you the same amount of revenue and we will be much happier and better satisfied.
The chamber of commerce has made up a series of briefs here, which I am not going to read, but which I am going to present to be made a part of the record, with your permission, and in one of them is explained as to why the American valuation, which we do not approve of, is not satisfactory.
Then, in closing, I might say to you, also, that my personal opinion-I did not have a chance to discuss that with the board of directors of the chamber nor with many members—but in reading the President's message, I saw that if it was possible to have separate Taluations in the matter of tariff on such articles that are hurting the industry of our country it should be done. As a matter of fact, personally, I would prefer this, so long as we dealt with justice on the other side; the other side should see that justice be done to us as well; and if any one of those countries over there are shipping goods here that would mean the closing of the industries of the United States, we should place an embargo on those goods and not allow them to come in.
But I claim that if the Tariff Commission could get information, and with the consent and the approval of the Senate, I think that from time to time in these days, where things are so upset, we would be able to change our tariff without playing politics with it.
Senator Walsh. You preach democracy and vote republicanism, do you not ? [Laughter.]
Nr. SCARAMELLT. No, Senator; I believe in the protection of American industry. But, at the same time, I do not believe in increasing the tariff where it has a tendency to monopoly.
ITALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN NEW YORK,
1921. COMMITTEE ON FINANCE,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. The Italian Chamber of Commerce in New York begs to submit the following statements and recommendations with regard to custom tariff revision:
(Paragraph 710 of the tariff act of 1921.) This chamber desires to bring to the attention of your honorable committee facts which which they feel amply justify their contention that the present and proposed method of assessing duty on cheese demands revision.
The Fordney tariff bill levies a rate of 5 cents per pound on cheese valued at less than 30 cents per pound and a duty of 25 per cent ad valorem on cheese valued at 30 cents or more per pound.
In the first place, this chamber is firmly convinced that the duty should be made specific, as it always has been in tariffs previous to the last, the present ad valorem rate having proved unworkable. That it should not be more than an all-round rate of 5 or at the most of 6 cents per pound.
This chamber is opposed to the ad valorem rate, which we consider difficult of application, a breeder of unnecessary litigation, and in the last analysis working to the det. riment of the honest merchant and to the advantage of the dishonest, who has not scruples about undervalueing his wares:
When we consider the diversified character of the cheeses imported each specialties of the different countries from which they come -you will easily understand the task that confronts the appraiser. To add to this difficulty, is the fact that there are varying grades of each of the qualities imported. While theoretically it may be possible, we doubt if a man could be found expert enough to do justice to such a task.
Besides, value is not stable, but varies considerably, and this is especially so at the present time, due to unsettled conditions of the foreign-exchange market. It is also a hardship on the importer who buys in large quantities or upon contract. He has to enter his goods at times at the value paid by a competitor, who buys in much inferior quantities and with goods contracted for which are not all delivered at one time, but is at times compelled to change his entering price on each shipment to make market price, which puts him at a disadvantage in merchandising his goods at these figures, with the importer practically out of this market.
The prices of domestic cheese have greatly receded from the high levels reached during the war. This is entirely due to conditions of readjustment, as the imported have in no way offered competition. We are strongly of the opinion that prices will eventually arrive at a level very near prewar times. The domestic varieties will be affected sooner, as its sources of supply have greatly increased during the war, whereas the imported, with greatly dimished sources, may be more retarded in the decline of their prices.
This chamber, in consideration of the above stated facts, recommends an all-round duty of 5 cents per pound. This would supply, as it did formerly, ample protection to domestic production, and would be best as a revenue producer, as any higher incre of duty, especially at this time, would, we believe, prove disastrous to the future importation of cheese.
(Paragraph 743 of the tariff act of 1921.) The duty on lemons, equivalent to about one-half cent a pound in the tariff of 1913, was increased in the emergency tariff to 2 cents per pound since incorporated in the permanent tariff bill. Now, it is a well-recognized fact that the only lemons imported into this country come from Italy, which supplied, prior to the war, about 2,000,000 boxes a year, out of a consumption of about 5,000,000. The State of California, the sole source of domestic supply, does not produce sufficient to adequately satisiy domestic demands. During the hot spell experienced in the past summer this was illustrated when, in the absence of an adequate foreign supply, discouraged by the high duty, lemons were sold in the New York wholesale market from $12 to $15 per hos This was a sad imposition upon the public during a time when lemons are most needed and most in demand, and many of the less fortunate were necessarily deprived by the price of their salutary use. These unheard of prices for lemons were due to the absence
of an adequate supply to meet the requirements of the hot spell, and may happen again at any time. With the arrival of additional supplies and the passing of the excessive heat these prices soon collapsed and shortly after lemons sold around $3 per box. This conclusively proves the futility of an excessive duty to stabilize prices, and the ultimate danger to the trade and inconvenience to the public involved in the exclusion of the imported article. This might be even more poignantly and sorrowfully brought home in the event of a failure of the California crop, not without possibility, considering its susceptibility to frosts.
C'nder the circumstances, we consider that the exigencies of the situation would dictate the encouragement of imported lemons under a reasonable tariff, as a protection to the domestic demand and as a safeguard against excessive prices. The high freight rate of $1.50 per box from California to the East, which was used effectively by the lemon growers in obtaining the advance in duty, has been greatly overcome by transportation by water. It now costs about 65 cents to transport a box of lemons from the Pacific coast by the water route, through the Panama Canal, and there is further a great possibility that rail rates will be materially revised downward in the near future, not to speak of the further reduction which will be made possible by the proposed repeal of the Panama toll act, as affecting American vessels engaged in the coastwise trade.
The importation of lemons, which had contracted during the war to about one and one-fourth million boxes, owing to difficulties of transportation, has since shown tendency to recover, but in such moderate proportion (1,419,000 boxes in 1920) as not to represent any obstacle to the profitable marketing of the domestic production, while operating as a safeguard against any monopoly of the market by the organization of domestic lemon growers.
The unprofitable character of the 1920 campaign, both for domestic as well as for imported lemons, which has been hysterically seized upon by the California growers as an argument for the present prohibitive rate on imported lemons, does not prove any ability on the part of imported lemons to undersell the California product, as it it is a well-known fact that the campaign in question proved disastrous for all concerned. That depression was an unavoidable consequence of after-war readjustment, and especially of the closing of the saloons through the enactment of prohibition and the temporary suppression of this important avenue of consumption, as well as a consequence of the high cost of sugar, and above all, of the cool summer, a factor, the temperature being of great moment in the fortunes of the lemon market.
The depression in the Italian exchange which was brought forward as the main argument for the prohibitive rate of 2 cents per pound enacted on lemons with the emergency tariff is a fallacious argument, since, whatever the disparity of the currency, the cost of merchandise is established on a gold basis, and will be higher or lower in lire according to the fluctuations of the exchange. We may state, on the authority of the New York Fruit Exchange, that, reckoning over a period of years, the seasonal average cost of the imported lemons is about $2.50 f. o. b. Sicily, to which, adding $1.58 as the expense incurred in delivering a box of lemons from Sicily to New York, we reach a total cost, for the imported fruit in New York, of $4.08 per box, against an average selling price of California lemons for the last 16 years of $3.92. Under these conditions we fail to see how a tariff of 2 cents per pound on lemons can be sought for any other purpose than that of stopping importation and securing a monopoly of the American market to domestic growers.
In conclusion, this chamber, from the facts above stated, feels justified in respectfully recommending to your honorable committee that the duty on lemons be reduced to 1 cent per pound, or should this be impossible, no higher rate be imposed than that of the Payne-Aldrich tariff of 1} cents per pound.
(Paragraph 758 of the tariff act of 1921.) The Fordney tariff bill raises the duty on this commodity from 2 to 2! cents per pound for walnuts not shelled and from 4 to 7} cents per pound for shelled walnuts.
This chamber can not consider that the domestic walnut growers are justified in their contention that they require greater protection by higher duties on this article. The California walnut trade has experienced great prosperity in the last few years. From an output of 9,600 tons in 1910, domestic production increased to 28,100 tons in 1919. Such enormous increase, as these figures represent, does not bear out well the contention of domestic producers that they are not sufficiently protected.