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goods is not sufficiently high for protection to the American interests, and in case some relief is not secured the existence of the sponge industry at Tarpon Springs is seriously threatened: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Board of Commissioners of the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce:
Section I. That the Congress of the United States, the Tariff Commission, and other Federal agencies or bureaus are hereby respectfully requested to take such action as they deem necessary to see that an adequate tariff is fixed on sponges so imported from foreign countries in order that unfair competition with the American product will be eliminated, and that such action be taken at the earliest possible date in order that the investments and livelihood of hundreds of American citizens will be protected. Passed and adopted on this 3d day of March A. D. 1947.
D. B. Aide, President. STATE OF FLORIDA,
County of Pinellas: I, Clara M. Herms, secretary of the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit corporation, and keeper of the records and books of said corporation, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of a resolution adopted by the board of directors on the 3d day of March 1947, with reference to tariff on sponges.
Witness my hand and the corporate seal of the above-named corporation on this the 4th day of March A. D. 1947.
CLARA M. HERMS.
RESOLUTION Whereas since the cessation of hostilities in World War II a vast amount of sponges have been imported into the United States from the Mediterranean area and the sponge market has been flooded with such sponges, and because of the price of same the producers of sponges at Tarpon Springs have been unable to and are having difficulty in disposing of their product through the regular channels of trade at a profit whereby the industry will be able to survive; and
Wherear, the placing of such imported sponges on the market furnishes unfair competition to American industry due to the fact that the tariff on the imported goods is not sufficiently high for protection of American interests, and in case some relief is not secured the existence of the sponge industry at Tarpon Springs is seriously threatened: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by Tarpon Springs Post 4038, Veterans of Foreign Wars:
SECTION 1: That the Congress of the United States, the Tariff Commission, and other Federal agencies or bureaus are hereby respectfully requested to take such action as they deem necessary to see that an adequate tariff is fixed on sponges so imported from foreign countries in order that unfair competition with the American product will be eliminated, and that such action be taken at the earliest possible date in order that the investments and livelihood of hundreds of American citizens will be protected. Unanimously adopted in regular meeting on the 5th day of March A. D. 1947.
GEORGE L. CROUSE, Post Commander, STATE OF FLORIDA,
County of Pinellas: I, George Crouse, Post Commander of Tarpon Springs Post No. 4038, Veterans of Foreign Wars, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of resolution adopted on the 5th day of March 1947, in reference to tariff on sponges. Witness my hand at Tarpon Springs, Fla., this 5th day of March, A. D. 1947.
GEORGE L. CROUSE.
TARPON SPRINGS, FLA., April 11, 1947. The undersigned do hereby certify that they are engaged in the sponge business and are familiar with the different grades and kinds of sponges produced throughout the world and they know of their own knowledge that there are no such sponges as hard head, grass, and yellow sponges produced in the Mediterranean area.
GEO. M. EMMANUEL.
LOW PRICED MEDITERRANEAN SPONGES
A real opportunity—we offer genuine Mediterranean silk sponges for less money than ordinary Rock Island sponges—Give you best results at lowest cost. Write or wire for prices.
ATLANTIC SPONGE & CHAMOIS CORP.
49 Walker Street, New York, N. Y.
As a result of its previous import arrangements, Mediterranean sponges are back in great quantity, it is stated by American Sponge & Chamois Co., New York, N. Y., and this new abundance, it is noted, means attractive prices. In its announcement the company says that during the recent world war, sponges almost disappeared in the United States due to a sponge blight of several years' duration in Florida, Cuba, and the Bahamas. The normal supply of imported sponges dropped 82 percent during the last years of the war and prices advanced to a new high. Mediterranean types equivalent to Rock Island and Cuba Sheepswool are available again, as well as the finest silks and honeycombs, and elephant ears in all sizes.
Mediterranean sponges are found along the entire north coast of Africa, and even in the Dardanelles. The principal grade is the Honeycomb, also known as Mandruka. It is close-knit, and has a honeycombed appearance with good strength and softness. The Mediterranean silk sponge derives its name from the extremely fine pores in which it closely resembles the American reef sponge. The American Sponge & Chamois organization has been active in the sponge industry for 76 years. It has recently published another printing of its interesting illustrated booklet, “The Sponge-a Swell Story.”
POTTERY SPONGES FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN
Just in-Another large shipment of the very finest Silks and Honeycombs
Elephant Ears-All sizes
Send your orders promptly AMERICAN SPONGE & CHAMOIS Co., INC. 47 Ann Street, New York 7—245 Mission Street, San Francisco 5 Mr. PETERSON. I represent the first district of Florida, which is the west coast of Florida, the southern west coast and which is the largest sponge fishing area in the Western Hemisphere.
The first district is the largest sponge-fishing industry and employs directly in the fishing of sponges about 1,000 persons and indirectly in the trimming and processing and those kindred industries, around 2,500 people. It is an industry that now annually runs $3,000,000.
Several years ago a blight struck that area which made a more difficult problem for the industry and in addition to that recent shipments of sponges from the Mediterranean have increased that problem.
A little of what I state may not correctly have a bearing on the subject matter which you are having hearings on, but it shows some light on the circumstances and is a part of the over-all problem. For instance, the industry today needs protection because of several things that have happened. In the old days the sponge beds had larger sponges and it was not uncommon to get yellow sponges that reached around this way. Today, the blight has wiped those out.
In the old days, when the diver went down there were a large number of sponges there and he would get a fine catch. Today, since the blight has wiped those out he goes down and he gets fewer sponges and smaller ones.
There are two methods used in fishing for the sponges, one in which they have a long pole with a hook attached and they look through the glass and hook them, and the other is that they go down with light diving gear and tear off the sponges. Before the blight struck they went into water as deep as 120 feet.
I tell you that because of the fact what might not have been so much competition is today more serious competition because it takes more time and more money to get less of a catch than it did in the old days.
In the preparation of the brief, which is quite comprehensive, we have given tables as to imports, we have given sales prices and the areas from which they come. In the investigation of that we found one thing which I thought should be called to the attention of the committee and which may call for legislation which I have drafted and which I will present.
In the Tariff Act of 1930 the provision in paragraph 1545 in the classification of sponges reads:
Sponges, commercially known as sheepswool, 30 percent ad valorem; sponges commercially known as yellow grass or velvet, 25 percent ad valorem; all other sponges not specially provided for, 15 percent ad valorem.
You will notice there the sheepswool is 30 percent ad valorem. This is a Rock Island sheepswool taken out from Tarpon Springs. This is not classed as sheepswool now under the tariff act although it is a competitive sponge coming in from the Mediterranean area and is normally competing with our own. In the actual classification and bringing into this country they have classed for the purpose of getting in an otherwise nonspecified sponge. In other words, not otherwise specified but to take care of the cheap brittle sort of sponges, this highgrade Mandruka or Honeycomb.
Mr. REED. Do I understand that they have changed the classification so that the competition comes in where it did not before?
Mr. PETERSON. In our original tariff act, we did not make classification for it and unfortunately we did not name the Mandruka. They compete with the sheepswool and go into the trade and do things that sheepswool sponges do.
Now, by reason of their low cost of production and our high cost of production, and most of you would probably buy the Mandruka in preference to the sheepswool, this light-colored sponge at one-third the price.
The classification, after we had gotten our yellow and our grass and our sheepswool, which are higher grade sponges, there was a little catch all but because they do not bear the same name as our sponges
there are Mandrukas and Zimoccas. The yellow is a standard recognized term in the trade here but because of the yellow color they bring some of them in as yellow. In the records showing the sponges coming into this country from Greece we find that there were 5,022
pounds of what was classified as yellow and grass at a value of $58,268. In August 2,925 pounds came in but in our brief we have affidavits from the people who lived in that area, familiar with that area, to the effect that they do not produce the yellow and grass sponges in the Mediterranean area. So, one of our problems is to work out the proper classification.
Incidentally, I will not deal too much as regards the most-favorednation clause unless we do have the proper classification because if we have named some, and then you have under some of the other nations a lower tariff, otherwise not specified, then they come again because we have not named them. To take care of that situation I have drafted a bill and I will drop it in the hopper in the next day or two.
I do not want to take too much time of the committee but I am in the district that produces the greatest portion of these sponges. We find in the trade journals the advertising of the fact that these sponges taking the low grade classification are competing. We not only found that but they are advertising the Mediterranean sponges and they put at the head of their advertising a picture of our own Tarpon sponge fleet. You will find in the exhibit the Tarpon Springs sponge fleet and you will recognize the American registration on the ship. That article reads as follows:
As a result of its previous import arrangements, Mediterranean sponges are back in great quantity, it is stated by American Sponge and Chamois Company, New York, N. Y., and this new abundance, it is noted, means attractive prices. In its announcement the company says that during the recent world war, sponges almost disappeared in the United States due to å sponge blight of several years' duration in Florida, Cuba, and the Bahamas.
Then he goes on and says:
Mediterranean sponges are found along the entire North Coast of Africa and even in the Dardanelles. The principal grade is the Honeycomb, also known as Mandruka. It is close knit and has a honeycombed appearance with good strength and softness. The Mediterranean silk sponge derives its name from the extremely fine pores in which it closely resembles the American reef sponge.
That is their own advertisement and then there are two or three other advertisements which show that they are competing with our high-grade sponges and bringing less price.
Those are some of the things I wanted to call attention to in this situation. I want you to know this that in our particular area the people who do most of this work are Greeks and they have spent large amounts of money, rebuilt schools and so forth, over there. They are not acting for the prupose of serving their own kinsmen over there but for the purpose of protecting their industry. They go out now and it takes longer, as I see it, to get fewer sponges, less weight, and of course it means high prices.
Senators Holland and Pepper who are here today asked me to present their views. We have had a series of conferences and one of the solutions we think might be helpful is in connection with section 336 under the tariff act and it is my understanding that a direction under either House is sufficient.
That, gentlemen, covers the high spots of the statement. I am not attempting to go into the various tables but we have given you the information month by month and year by year showing the increase in problem. Their areas were not harvested during the war. Our areas had the blight and as a result they say the industry is seriously threatened. The various groups, the County Commissioners of Pinellas County, the Board of Comn issioners of Tarpon Springs, the Greek Orthodox Community and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion have all passed the resolution. The Florida Legislature passed on it unanimously and it is now en route here to Congress.
I appreciate very much whatever legislation that may come out of the committee and for the purpose of the record whatever trade agreements might be made in this situation with reference to classification, this situation with reference to the actual need for the protection of the industry will be taken into consideration. I express my deep appreciation to the committee.
The gentlemen who are here with me have been here for about a week and if there is anything we can get for you, we will be glad to
This is an industry that is around my section and it is an industry which during the war was asked to step up production. Thank you very much, and as you develop your hearings we appreciate the protection we get. There are two bills which I will drop in the hopper within the next day or two, one is the bill in regard to the Mediterranean names. They are not actually called that by the trade but they are getting the lower classification.
Thank you very much, gentlemen, and I appreciate your kindness in this matter.
Mr. GEARHART. We are very, very glad you came.
Mr. PETERSON. I am going to leave these two sponges here with the clerk of the committee. The light one is the Mandruka and comes from the Mediterrenean and the dark one is the Rock Island sheepswool. This light colored one is classified lower than the yellow and is selling cheaper and is in competition, as the ads show with our own high-grade sponges.
Mr. GEARHART. Frankly, I know very little about sponges but I feel that I know more than I did before
started. Mr. PETERSON. If you wet this sheep's-wool and close your eyes and rub your hands across it, it will feel just like you are running your hand across the back of a sheep.
Mr. BYRNES. What is the attitude of this group for which you are appearing as far as the administration of the Trade Agreements Act is concerned?
Mr. PETERSON. They have not kicked much one way or the other. We have recognized the Cuban agreement. They are highly competitive and it hurts us some and they do not want treaties made now that would reduce existing tariffs and they want to be sure that we are in an actual position in needing the raise.
They would bitterly oppose action that would plan to reduce tariffs and would hope that there would be an increase.
The over-all operation of the reciprocal trade agreements, the only two agreements which affected were the Bahamas and the Cuban