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Washington 6, D. C., June 3, 1953.


Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means,

House of Representatives, Washington 25, D. C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: The National Cotton Council of America which is an industry organization representing the six primary segments of the cotton industry-producers, ginners, warehousemen and compressmen, crushers, merchants and spinners-wishes to urge the passage of H. R. 5106, Customs Simplification Act of 1953.

The cotton industry believes that a high volume of trade built on a sound economic basis is desirable not only from the standpoint of the 9 million people directly and indirectly concerned in the production, processing, and marketing of cotton and cotton products but also from the standpoint of the economy in general.

Our complex, cumbersome, and antiquated customs procedures hamper foreign commerce. Simplification of customs procedures is long overdue and though this is only a minor aspect of this country's foreign trade problem, it is nevertheless an important one.

The Jenkins bill, H. R. 5106, provides for most of the reforms in our customs laws pertaining to administration and procedure that have been advocated and should remove many of these obstacles to international trade.

We request that this statement be made a part of the official record of the hearings of your committee.

Sincerely yours,

Executive Vice President.


JUNE 1, 1953. It has been generally recognized for a long time that the customs procedures of the United States are antiquated, cumbersome, and, in some cases, unjust. Unquestionably, this fact has been a deterrent to our foreign trade-restricting imports and thus limiting exports.

We, therefore, strongly recommend that the Jenkins bill, H. R. 5106, which modernizes and simplifies these outdated customs procedures, be acted upon favorably by your committee and the Congress.

There is a general feeling that this action is long overdue and is an absolute necessity in view of the changes which have occurred since these procedures were last revised.

The economic status of tobacco growers of the United States depends, to a large degree, on the level of United States foreign trade. Over one-fourth of the total tobacco produced in this country is exported. Exports of many United States commodities, including tobacco, would be substantially larger than they are at the present time if foreign countries could earn more dollar exchange by increasing the export of their goods to the United States.

Not only would many individual segments of our economy benefit by the enactment of this legislation but, even more important, our foreign relations would get a substantial boost at a time when it is much needed. Our allies must be able to do a substantial volume of trading with us if they are to steer clear of the Soviet orbit. This legislation would enable them to increase their level of trade with us.


Executive Secretary, Burley and Dark Leaf Tobacco Export Association, Inc.
President, Tobacco Associates,


Washington 4, D. C., June 2, 1953.

Chairman, Ways and Means Committee,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This association, the National Association of Alcoholic Beverage Importers, Inc., desires to go on record in support of H. R. 5106, Customs Simplification Act of 1953. This organization is a nonprofit trade association composed of American firms and American businessmen who import alcoholic beverages into the United States. Our members are responsible for the importation of more than 80 percent of all imported alcoholic beverages taxpaid for sale in the United States.

H. R. 5106 provides for amendments to certain administrative provisions of the Tariff Act of 1930 and related laws which would be very helpful to the efficiency in the moving of merchandise into the country. Although we support all provisions of this proposed act we especially support the following proposed provisions:

(1) Section (c) of section 315 of the Tariff Act of 1930 as provided in section 3 (a) on page 6 of H. R. 5106.

(2) The amendment to paragraph 812 of the Tariff Act of 1930 as provided in section 6 (a) on page 9 of H. R. 5106.

(3) The amendment to section 313 (c) of the Tariff Act of 1930 as provided in section 12 (b) on page 22 of H. R. 5106.

Very truly yours,

HARRY L. LOURIE, Executive Vice President.

New York 16, N. Y., May 29, 1953.

Re new customs simplification bill (H. R. 5106) by Representative Thomas A. Jenkins.


House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

GENTLEMEN: In view of the public hearings to be held on this bill commencing June 1, 1953, we wish to draw the committee's attention to one of the many problems an importer has to contend with concerning an administrative function of the Customs Division that could very easily be improved. We have reference to customs entries covering merchandise dutiable on weight basis.

Considerable time elapses from date of customs entry to date of liquidation, from as much as 6 months to a year or more, during which period an importer never knows what additional duty he may be liable for.

We cite, for example, one of our recent imports from Switzerland of rayon staple fibre yarn that arrived at New York on July 28, 1952, cleared customs on August 1, 1952, but was only liquidated on May 7, 1953 or more than 9 months from date of


On liquidation we were notified that customs weighers report showed an increase in weight, thus increasing total value. As a result, additional duty was levied on higher value at ad valorem rate of 221⁄2 percent plus 64 cents per pound on the increase in weight. On the importation referred to the entered weight was 4,490 pounds and customs reported landed weight to be 4,503 pounds, an increase of 13 pounds as you will note from copy of custom broker's liquidation report attached for your information.

Is there any reason why an importer has to wait until entry is liquidated before he finds out that additional duty has been levied? Our suggestion is that when the goods are weighed by customs weighers at the dock, a copy of the weight report or at least the results thereof be passed on to the importer. Then the importer knows shortly after the goods have cleared customs whether any additional duties will be due on liquidation and can set up reserves if necessary. Otherwise, as it is now, the importer does not know if there will be any additional duty until liquidation when a notice is received (customs form 5107) that additional duty due. If no additional duty is due, the importer hears nothing and never knows when the entry is finally liquidated.

We compliment the committee on their endeavors to enact legislation that will streamline and simplify our cumbersome customs regulations, and hope that definite results will be accomplished at the present session.

Very truly yours,

FREDERIC A. FERY, Jr., Assistant Secretary.

New York 19, May 29, 1953.


Chairman, Ways and Means Committee,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

DEAR CONGRESSMAN REED: Over the past several years a committee of the American Association of Museums has been working with its members in developing recommendations to liberalize existing customs regulations which affect the importation of works of art and other exhibition material to be shown in public and tax-supported institutions. I understand that these recommendations have been forwarded to you with the request that they be incorporated in the customs simplification bill of 1953 (H. R. 5106) which is currently under consideration by the House Ways and Means Committee.

The proposals made by the American Association of Museums (and jointly sponsored by the American Federation of Arts) are intended solely to remove restrictions which affect the importation of objects essential to the educational and cultural activities of public and private institutions in the United States. The Tariff Act of 1930 and subsequent Treasury decisions tend, in some instances, to hamper the work of these institutions. Consequent delays in handling increase importation costs due to higher brokerage fees, storage charges, etc., and impose an undue hardship on institutions partially or solely maintained by limited public and private funds.

As director of The Museum of Modern Art, a member museum of the association, I should like to urge you and your committee to give the most careful consideration to these proposals.

Yours respectfully,


Gloversville, N. Y., May 28, 1953.

Re H. R. 5106-Customs Simplification Bill.

Chairman, Ways and Means Committee,

House of Representatives, Washington 25, D. C.

DEAR CONGRESSMAN REED: This association, representing the United States manufacturers of seamless gloves and mittens knit directly from yarn, is pleased to submit the following statement on H. R. 5106; and we ask that it be entered in the printed report of the current hearings on the bill.

We are in accord with the principal purpose of the bill: to modify certain administrative procedures, which are alleged to cause unnecessary hardships to importers. We wish to go on record in favor of true simplification of customs administrative laws. It is not equitable to maintain unnecessary burdens on importers by continuing administrative provisions which hamper trade.

Nevertheless, we emphasize the need for continuation of a protective tariff system in this country for many industries such as ours. We believe Congress should be critical of any moves which would undermine the protective tariff system which has been established by Congress. Any proposal which might weaken our tariff in the name of customs simplification should be objectively scrutinized.

In the light of such stated policy, we wish to comment briefly on the following sections of H. R. 5106:

Section 4. Marking. While we trust that those industries directly affected by the proposed repeal of the paragraphs in the Tariff Act dealing with their own specific products will competently testify on such repeal, we urge the committee to emphasize that the repeal of such paragraphs will in no way detract from the obligations of the Secretary of the Treasury to enforce the general marking provisions in section 304 of the Tariff Act.

Section 13. Administrative exemptions. The proposed revision of paragraph (b) (3) of section 321 of the Tariff Act, raising the value of articles which would be exempted from the payment of duty, from $1 to $3, would open the gates to unfair import competition.

The number of items which might be offered to the public, duty-free, is unforeseeable. It must be borne in mind that the number of products importable under this exemption would not be limited to the number of American products selling for up to $3.

Foreign values, based upon low-cost foreign labor, particularly in the Orient, would foster the establishment of an unlimited mail order volume, to the detriment of retail and manufacturing payrolls in this country.

Furthermore, the absence of a duty would preclude the compilation of figures on such import volume and value, making it improbable that the injured segments of American labor and management could prove the extent of their injury. We restate our opinion, expressed in previous hearings when the proposed exemption was limited to $10, that the administrative burden which this exemption would allegedly relieve is offset by the magnitude of the harm it would create. We ask that the proposed increase of the exemption to $3 be stricken from the bill, leaving the present $1 exemption under section 321 of the Tariff Act in force. Section 15. Value.-In the proposal to amend section 402 of the Tariff Act, foreign value is eliminated and export value is substituted for the present choice between foreign value and export value. We understand that foreign value is difficult to ascertain and that export value, the present alternative, is used predominantly.

Nevertheless, we prefer retention of the present alternative which gives preference to foreign value where ascertainable, until it can be clearly shown that export value is carefully enough defined to forestall abuses which would result in lower tariff duties.

Even more objectionable is the introduction of comparative value. We are at a loss to discover why it was introduced as an alternative basis of valuation. Not only do we deem it unnecessary, but we find it so loosely defined that it is a potential loophole for evasion of the proper assessment of duties.

In view of the questionable character of section 15, we plead that it be stricken from the bill.

Section 22. Conversion of currency.-When speaking of the "par value" of currencies, we believe that it would be sound to qualify par value by expressing value in terms of the number of grains of fine gold contained in the several monetary units.


We note that H. R. 5106 omits the caveat which was an important part of H. R. 5505, stating that "The enactment of this act shall not be construed to determine or indicate the approval or disapproval by the Congress of the executive agreement known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade."

In view of the general controversial ramifications of the United States position on detailed questions following the signing of the executive agreement, and specifically in view of this industry's experience in appealing for consideration under article XXVIII of GATT, we emphatically urge that such a caveat be made a part of H. R. 5106.

We reiterate our endorsement of true customs simplification when it is proposed within the realm of administrative progress, taking exception only to those proposals which would effect tariff changes under the guise of simplification; and we urge passage of the bill with the modifications suggested herein. Respectfully submitted.

Re H. R. 5106.

HARRY A. Moss, Jr., Secretary.


New York, 6 N. Y., May 29, 1953.

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

DEAR SIRS: We import sulfur ore in the form of pyrites (sulfide of iron) from Canada, which is classified free of duty under paragraph 1777, Tariff Act of 1930. However, this ore contains minute quantities of lead, not exceeding 0.1 percent. Because of an omission in paragraph 391 of the 1930 Tariff Act, a duty of 3/4 cents per pound is being assessed against the lead content of this ore, even though the lead is not recovered, does not enter into competition with any domestic lead, and the cost to the Government of collecting the duty is many times the amount of the duty collected.

As H. R. 5106, the proposed Customs Simplification Act of 1953, would amend paragraph 391 of the 1930 Tariff Act in other respects, we believe it should at

the same time correct this omission, remedy the unfair treatment of importers of this material, and avoid loss to the Government resulting therefrom.

So far as here pertinent paragraph 391 provides as follows:

"PAR. 391. Lead-bearing ores, flue dust, and mattes of all kinds, 11⁄2 cents1 per pound on the lead contained therein: Provided, That such duty shall not be applied to the lead contained in copper, gold, or silver ores, or copper mattes, unless actually recovered:"

It should be noted, however, that the provision for zinc-bearing ores in paragraph 393 of the 1930 Tariff Act contains the following exception: "except pyrites containing not more than 3 per centum zinc".

Consequently, in contrast to the duty imposed on the lead content of pyrites, no duty whatsoever is imposed on the zinc content of pyrites containing 3 percent or less zinc.

To end this unfair and discriminatory treatment, we request that a similar exception be incorporated into paragraph 391 by changing proposed section 5 (a) of H. R. 5106 to read as follows:

"SEC. 5. (a) Paragraph 391 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (U. S. C., 1946 edition, title 19, sec. 1001, par. 391), is hereby amended to read as follows: "Lead-bearing flue dust, mattes, and ores of all kinds, except pyrites containing not over 11⁄2 per centum lead: Provided, That the duty provided for in this paragraph shall not be applied to the lead contained in copper, gold, silver, or tin ores or copper mattes unless actually recovered.'

"The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to make all necessary regulations to enforce provisions of this paragraph."

This exception is fully supported by the policy expressed in paragraph (g) of section 8.48 of the Customs Regulations of 1943, which requires the collector of customs to deduct 11⁄2 percent from the lead content of any dutiable import made under a contract providing for a 12 percent lead allowance.

In further support of the requested change, we should like to call the committee's attention to the following additional facts:

Pyrites such as we import is not mined for its lead content at all, but for gold, copper, or zinc. After the removal in Canada of the gold, copper, or zinc, the pyrites is shipped to us for the purpose of removing the sulfur to make sulfuric acid. For this purpose, any lead which may be found in the pyrites is not only unwanted but is actually detrimental. Consequently, our supply contracts are designed not to allow, but to minimize to the greatest possible degree the presence of lead.

Sulfuric acid is one of the most important basic chemicals being used by American industry in the production of steel, petroleum and many other essential products. In the manufacture of sulfuric acid, pyrites is used as a substitute raw material for elemental sulfur which has been and continues to be in short supply. By thus relieving the sulfur shortage, the importation of pyrites from Canada contributes to the national welfare and the defense effort.

The amount of lead in the pyrites in question is relatively so small that it is never recovered and never goes into competition with any lead produced in the United States or elsewhere. There is, therefore, no need to have any duty on this lead content, from the point of view of protecting any American industry and, in fact, the duty presently imposed cannot possibly serve any useful purpose.

A pound of our imported pyrites (containing 0.1 percent of lead, the maximum found to date) is presently subject to a duty of 0.075 cents (71⁄2 ten-thousandths of 1 cent) per pound. An average carload of imported pyrites contains 60 tons or 120,000 pounds of which the 0.1 percent lead content would be 120 pounds, and the duty 90 cents per carload. With hundreds of thousands of tons being imported each year, the penalty imposed by this duty is substantial.

In order to collect the duty of 90 cents per car, the United States customs officers at Buffalo, N. Y., are compelled to take accurate samples out of every car and then send the samples to the United States customs laboratory at the port of New York for careful analysis by a United States chemist to determine the exact lead content. The cost of a reliable chemical analysis alone is at least $5. When to this is added the cost of taking samples at Buffalo and sending them to New York, it is apparent that the total cost of collecting the duty of 90 cents per car is at least 10 times the duty collected.

It is the policy of the United States to avoid, if possible, the expense and inconvenience of collecting duties which are disproportionate to the amount of such duties. This policy is expressed in sec. 321 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended This rate was reduced to 34 cents per pound under the Torquay Trade Agreement (T. D. 52739).

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