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Mr. STARACE, of New York.-The intent is simply as to reciprocity with Canada. I think we should have the option of substituting the maximum tariff.
Mr. Croxton, of Philadelphia.-Mr. President. I would like to ask if the amendment was submitted to the committee?
Mr. MULLEN.—This resolution was submitted by the Italian Chamber of Commerce. We suggested to the Italian Chamber of Commerce, as the form of the resolution was not one that could properly be considered by the committee, that we thought it would best be brought to the convention in the form of an amendment, so that we could get the sense of the convention as to whether they cared to approve it, and the phraseology was changed. In fact, it was shortened so as to make the purport clear to you, and so the gentlemen from the Italian Chamber of Commerce have presented it in that form.
Mr. CROXTON.-It seems to me the report from the committee should be acted upon and then this come up as a separate subject. That was the way the committee looked at it—not to amend the report of the committee, but to pass the report of the committee and then let this be a special resolution.
The PRESIDENT.–Would you like to have this come up as a separate resolution ?
Mr. PERSONENI.— Yes.
The PRESIDENT.–Are you willing to accept it that way, Mr. MULLEN?
The PRESIDENT.-One does not interfere with the other, it only covers more ground. The Chairman is willing to accept it that way.
The resolutions reported by the committee were adopted.
The PRESIDENT.—Now, as a separate resolution, the Chair recognizes Mr. PERSONENI, to introduce his amendment.
The Secretary read the amendment proposed, as above recorded.
A DELEGATE.-Substituted for what?
The SECRETARY.-Substitution for the maximum clause.
Mr. ASPEGREN, of New York.-It hardly seems to me that that resolution is drawn quite right. We do not apply the maximum tariff at present to a single article in Europe. How can we substitute then the minimum clause? It is true in our tariff laws it is there, but as we have not applied it, how can we withdraw it? It does not look to me as if the resolution was drawn quite right.
Mr. CARHART, of New York. Perhaps it is only fair to state that the purpose of that resolution is to do the very thing that Mr. ASPEGREN now refers to. It is the desire of our friends from the Italian Chamber of Commerce to advocate the repeal of the maximum and the minimum clause of our tariff law and substitute there for a provision calling for general reciprocity with all the world who will give us general advantages.
Mr. STARACE.—That is right.
Mr. CARHART.—That is the proposition that our Italian friends are laying before us now.
Mr. STARACE.—That is right.
Mr. KELLY, of Philadelphia.-It seems to me, after having heard the report as presented by the Italian Chamber of Commerce, that if they had adhered to a resolution which they placed upon the Programme the members of the National Board of Trade would have understood more clearly. On page 17 their resolution reads as follows:
Resolved, That the Italian Chamber of Commerce recommends to the National Board of Trade to urge upon the Permanent Tariff Committee to the effect of proposing the abolition of said maximum tariff pending further legislation.
If they propose, Mr. Chairman, in other words, to abolish the maximum tariff as established by the Payne Tariff Law, if they present that resolution in that way, I would like to present some remarks.
Mr. MULLEN.-We considered that, sir, but we have not a permanent Tariff Commission.
The PRESIDENT.—We have a board, but no permanent Tariff Commission.
Mr. Wood, of Philadelphia.—Mr. President, I do not understand that proposition in the way Mr. KELLY does. take it that our Italian friend thought that instead of making a tariff founded on the minimum basis they should take the maximum countries instead and then offer reciprocity under that. That is practically what we have done already. I think we have done what they ask us to do.
Mr. HARVEY, of Philadelphia.--Mr. President, as I understand, there is only one nation with respect to which the President has the right to put in force the maximum tariff under the Payne Bill, and that is Canada. The President has held that in abeyance pending negotiations with the Canadian Ministers. Minister Finney met the President in Albany in the summer and negotiations were then taken up that are now pending with the Canadian Ministers in this country. Quebec prohibited the exportation of pulp wood from the Province of Quebec into the United States and they are endeavoring to adjust that matter so that it will not be necessary for the President to put the maximum rate into effect by making concessions between the two countries.
The resolution, as I understand it, is not quite clear -it is rather ambiguous—as to what these gentlemen wish to do. I certainly am in favor of doing what the gentlemen have told us they want to do, but it does not seem quite clear what they want.
Mr. PERSONENI.-I would like to read the preamble of our resolution:
WHEREAS, The present minimum rates of Payne's tariff are the highest that have ever been enacted, and in order to demonstrate to the International Commerce a healthy leaning towards reciprocity (as in the case of Canada).
So we speak about reciprocity. The moment that: reciprocity is enacted between Canada and the United States the maximum clause does not amount to anything, so that is the reason, by accepting reciprocity, the maximum clause should be given us, because in the United States there are about 50,000,000 people that would only be too glad to exchange products with any other country in the world.
Mr. HARVEY.-It seems to me, Mr. President, that that would deprive the President, in the event of any nation taking action that would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, of the power to apply the maximum clause, which right he is given under the Payne Bill. We hope—and that is what we are all earnestly advocatingfor reciprocity on an equitable basis with all nations, to increase our trade in a friendly way, not to deprive any nation of such advantages as they have; but the President has the right to prevent another nation from taking advantage of us, which they might do under some conditions.
Mr. PERSONENI.-I have a brief here that explains more thoroughly our idea of eliminating from the present tariff the maximum clause, and I would like to have the Secretary read it.
The Secretary read as follows:
ON THE TARIFF ACT.
We shall try to point out several important reasons in demonstration of the advisability of repealing the “maximum" clause of Payne's Act, as a first speedy step by which the Government might show its good will toward an equitable settlement of the agitating tariff question.
The "maximum" tariff is—politically—inconsistent with true American sincerity and straightforwardness of purpose, inasmuch as the present Congress was elected on the promise of a downward revision, whilst the revision was actually performed in the oppositeupward-direction. There was, consequently, still less reason for inserting an extra "maximum" clause right on top of the Act, and in spite of the higher rates established in comparison with the previous one the already protective Dingley Act.
To revise the tariff—as it was intended and promised to—there should have been no radical departure from the policy which gave to the people of the United States said Dingley Act. By repudiating the principle of reciprocity, so ably advocated and put in practice by the great protectionist, the late President McKinley, a bad feeling has naturally been aroused against this country on the part of those which enjoyed treaties of mutual benefit. In abrogating such treaties, some articles rose to a 50 per cent. average increase without giving anything in return to the nations thus struck, same being supposed to grant to the United States the rates of duty in force toward the most favored nation, lest the "maximum" clause—hanging like a Democles sword over their head—would be applied! It suggests the impending meaning: You must keep on and give us the same fair and special treatment we were accustomed to under the reciprocity agreement, but you shall cease to get any more special favor from us.
The "maximum" tariff is wrong economically, because by the provision of its automatically eventual immediate enforcement, without notice it would disturb trade relations and injure the local market for those home necessities of foreign products—raw as well as manufactured-imported specially from leading countries like England, France, Germany, etc., and the burden of the extra taxation would fall primarily on the American consumer.
Practically, the "maximum" clause has proved of impossible or rather unwarranted application—as in the case of France, Germany and Canada-to such a degree, as to call for an “entente" of reciprocity (now under negotiation with the last-named country) en. tirely independent from Payne's Act, and utterly in opposition to its fundamental principles.
The "maximum" clause is also dangerous. It is liable to draw the United States into a tariff war with some nation, for items of little importance in which, by reason of local opportunity, it might differentiate with the United States in favor of another country. If, in such a case and for obvious' reasons, the enactment of the "maximum” tariff should not be a risk worth while to be taken, then the same clause could not be enforced neither when larger interests should be at stake. For if not equally enforced, the spirit of Payne's Act would be betrayed as it makes no distinction between small and large interests.
To exact that all countries of the world must give the same special treatment to the United States, as they would give to any other nation in exchange for some particular consideration, is rather too independent and impracticable an assumption, in view of the almost countless and intricate items constituting the vocabulary of a modern tariff. Let us take an example: Russia might give a special advantage to one of her neighbors in exchange of some concession;