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ALLOWANCE FOR LEAKAGE AND BREAKAGE.
Our request for 5 per cent allowance of the duty for leakage and breakage is based on the fact that owing to the high pressure of the carbonic acid gas contained in champagne excessive leakage and breakage is occasioned at times, and a loss of the expensive wine should be sufficient without having to pay a very high duty on what is not received, therefore an allowance of 5 per cent for leakage and breakage is not only reasonable but just.
Although champagne is to a considerable extent an article of luxury, it is nevertheless a most valuable adjunct in materia medica and an indispensable remedy prescribed alike for all classes, as is substantiated by the verdict of eminent authorities in this and other countries, such as Professor Loomis, Drs. Austin Flint, Willard Parker, Francis S. Anstie, Professor Liebig, Drs. Dujardin Beaumetz, Thomas King Chambers, J. W. Pavy, etc., therefore the present high cost of champagne is a very great hardship to a large class of our population without being of any benefit whatever to the domestic producer.
After seriously considering the foregoing, we trust your honorable committee will find our request reasonable and advisable, and will recommend that the duty on champagne and sparkling wines in the new tariff bill should be as follows:
Six dollars per 1 dozen quart bottles or 2 dozen pint bottles, etc., with no separate or additional duty on the bottles, and 5 per cent allowance on the duty for leakage and breakage. We are convinced that this will largely increase the revenue.
Fredk. de Bary & Co., agents for G. H. Mumm & Co.; Charles Graef & Co., agents for Pommery & Greno; Kessler, Behringer & Co., agents for Moët & Chandon; Chas. J. Schimor & Peters, agents for Veuve ClicquotTonsardin; G. S. Nicholas, agent for Piper-Heidsieck Champagne; Hartmann & Hubbard, agents for Heidsieck & Co., Dry Monopole; Taylor & De Rouge, agents for George Goulet; Roosevelt & Schuyler, agents for Rainart Père et Fils; E. La Mantagne & Sons, agents for Delbeck & Co.; F. O. De Luze & Co., agents for Ernest Irroy & Co.; Alex. D. Shaw & Co., agents for Louis Roederer; Alfred de Montebello & Co., agents for Duc de Montebello; Du Niros & Co., agents for Perrier Sonet & Co.; Bouché, Fils et Cie., agents for Bouché Fils et Co.; John Osborn's Sons & Co., agents for Dunieny & Cie.; Myles R. Haffenden, agent for Giesler & Co.; Oswald Jackson & Bro., agents for St. Marceaux & Co.; C. H. Arnold, agent for Deutz & Geldermann; Renauld & Riederstadtig, agents for Krug & Co., Reims; H. A. Bätzer & Co., agents for Ball & Co., Reims; W. A. Taylor & Co., agents for Ackerman Laurance Saumar; Anthony Oechs, agent for Poe, Roger & Co.
The above firms represent over 90 per cent of the total importation of champagnes and sparkling wines.
STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY CHARLES GRAEF & CO., IMPORTERS, OF NEW YORK CITY.
Washington, D. C., December 26, 1896.
COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS:
. We beg respectfully to represent that the present duty on champagnes-$8 on one dozen quarts with the additional duty on the glass bottles-is entirely too high, as it is not needed for protection, and it has effected a loss of revenue. In substantiation, we submit that the producers of domestic champagne sell their goods at more than 50 per cent less than the prices of imported champagnes, and that under this unnecessarily high duty the imports of French champagnes have decreased enormously, thus:
As per verified custom-house statistics reported in Bonfort's Wine and Spirit Circular. On their face these figures show an astonishingly great loss of revenue.
Under the desired restoration of the former duty of $6 per dozen quarts-with the logical allowance for leakage and breakage-not only would the domestic producers sell at 50 per cent below the selling price of imported champagnes, but there would also be a large increase in
We beg, therefore, to petition for a duty on imported champagnes of $6 per dozen quarts, and $6 per two dozen pints, with no additional duties on the bottles and subject to 5 per cent allowance on the break age and leakage.
CHARLES GRAEF & Co., Importers of Pommery Lee Champagnes.
CINCINNATI, OHIO, December 17, 1896.
DEAR SIR: Under the existing high rate of tariff the importation of cherry juice is almost entirely prohibited-a loss to the liquor trade at large, and almost an entire loss of revenue to the Government; hence in getting the tariff reduced to about 15 or 20 cents, which would be double what it was prior to the McKinley bill, you would render a benefit to the liquor trade of this country, also largely increase the
revenue of the Government. Following is a copy of our letter, written in 1894, to the Senate Finance Committee:
The article which we handle, and to which we beg to call attention, is cherry juice. Being for many years importers of this article, we are fully conversant and posted as regards its production in Germany, as well as its use in this country.
The cost of production of cherry juice in Germany is, at present, 23 to 24 cents per gallon.
The present rate of duty on cherry juice is 60 cents per gallon, at which exorbitant rate importation of the article has greatly fallen off; in fact, almost entirely ceased. Owing to this excessive high duty, the trade has been compelled to quit using this article.
There is no cherry juice produced in this country, and we especially beg to call your attention to the fact that this article does not come in conflict with anything produced here, as the fruit in this country is of entirely different nature from that produced in Germany from which cherry juice is manufactured.
Cherry juice is sold in this country at about 95 cents, which includes duty of 60 cents per gallon, as also the freight from Europe, which is 5 cents per gallon, and, calculating the loss of the goods in transit, nets 28 cents for the goods.
Prior to the passage of the tariff act of 1890 the duty on cherry juice was 20 per cent ad valorem (or equal to about 7 to 8 cents per gallon). The tariff of 1890 advanced the duty to the enormous rate of 60 cents per gallon. This advance is considered exorbitant, being almost three times the original cost of the goods. In consequence thereof importation of cherry juice has almost entirely ceased, as the article became too expensive for practical use, which is not only detrimental to the wholesale liquor rectifiers, but also a great loss to the Government in revenue. The authors of the tariff act of 1890 were under the erroneous impression that advancing the duty on cherry juice to 60 cents per gallon would be beneficial to the American wine producers. There is no wine produced from chery juice now, and there has not been for many years. To prove our assertion: Before the passage of the tariff act of 1890 we sold California wines at 50 cents per gallon, which have since declined to below 40 cents in price; hence it is evident that the California wine producers have not been benefited by the enormous advance in duty.
The Wilson bill has revised the duty on cherry juice to 50 cents per gallon, which is considered as yet too high by the trade for practical use. It will neither stimulate importation nor will it bring any revenue to the Government. A duty of 15 to 20 cents per gallon would be amply sufficient, and would encourage the importation of this article as heretofore, and in addition thereto would yield a much larger revenue to the Government.
A specific duty is preferable to an ad valorem duty, as the former prohibits any undervaluation of goods.
In addition we beg to say that comparing the duty of 60 cents per gallon on cherry juice with the duty of 50 cents per gallon on imported wines (wines which cost in Europe from $2 to $4 per gallon), your honorable Finance Committee will readily perceive that the duty assessed on cherry juice is comparatively entirely out of proportion.
We therefore recommend to your kind consideration that the present excessive rate of duty on cherry juice be abolished and one more reasonable and just substituted.
STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY H. A. BATJER & CO., OF NEW YORK.
COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS:
NEW YORK, December 26, 1896.
We understand that there is to be a hearing before your honorable committee on Monday, December 28, upon tariff matters pertaining to Schedule H, in which, among other articles, there are mentioned fruit juices, which our house is particularly interested in, chief among them being Cherry Juice, and we respectfully submit to you for your consideration the following facts:
It is probably incongruous to argue for a reduction in the existing rate of duty on an article, but as it is the purpose of the proposed
new tariff to be one to produce an increased revenue, we feel that from that standpoint our argument is peculiarly applicable, for the following
The statistics relating to the importation of cherry juice at the port of New York for a number of years back are as follows:
Before 1890 the rate of duty was 20 per cent ad valorem; equal, according to market values abroad, to about 7 to 10 cents per gallon. In 1890 the rate was advanced to 60 cents per gallon, on account of a mistaken opinion as to purposes for which the amount of alcohol contained in the juice could be used. In 1894 the rate was reduced to 50 cents, in the expectation that this rate would stimulate importation and produce revenue. We call attention to the heavy importations under the lowest rate of duty, culminating in a very large importation in 1890 to take advantage of the expected higher tariff. In 1891 next to nothing was imported, on account of the large existing stocks. In 1892 a normal importation was had under the then existing conditions and the high rate of duty. From that time on the importations have been steadily diminishing, until this year they amount to practically nothing.
In 1890 the revenue derived by the Government from this article was about $80,000; in 1896 about $12,800, with the result that this article is clearly overprotected, and the Government has not derived much
From our experience with this article, having been for a number of years its leading importers, we argue for a high protective rate of duty of 25 cents per gallon, and this rate would not conflict with any domestic interests, since no Cherry Juice of consequence is or can be produced in this country. We assume that under a rate of duty of 25 cents per gallon, the importation in normal years would probably again reach 2,000 puncheons, with a revenue to the Government of about $80,000. Cherry Juice was formerly much used in the manufacture of cherry and blackberry brandy. It is a pure juice of the fruit, wholesome and healthy to drink in its manufactured state. This branch of the business has practically ceased altogether, and the article called cherry and blackberry brandy, as now put upon the market, is unwholesome and utterly unfit as a medicinal drink.
Cherry Juice is used in increasing quantities by the manufacturers of fruit and soda-water syrups and other medicinal preparations made up by chemical laboratories. We think that a moderate duty such as we propose would greatly extend this branch of the business, and no article of domestic manufacture or growth can take its place for that purpose.
There is a certain alcoholic strength necessary to keep Cherry Juice in its transportation from abroad to this country, and former legislation has fixed this strength at 18 per cent of the volume. Anything
less than that would cause the article to ferment on the way and render it unsaleable here. The argument has been made, and it has been the basis for the present high rate, that the alcohol contained ought to be taxed, inasmuch as it is capable of being extracted and used for other purposes. This argument, however, is fallacious, because even should the alcohol be extracted, the juice itself would become unfit for use in any way and would be a total loss, and the alcohol could not be handled profitably in competition with the domestic article. It is therefore not practicable to extract the alcohol, and in fact it has never been done, else it would prove just as profitable to extract it from wines, now paying 30 cents per gallon duty. Very respectfully,
H. A. BATJER & Co.