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THE SECRETARY OF STATE
THE ANNUAL REPORT UPON THE COMMERCIAL RELATIONS OF THE
UNITED STATES FOR THE YEAR 1877.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, February 27, 1878. SIR: In compliance with section 208 of the Revised Statutes, I have the honor to submit a report upon the commercial relations of the United States with foreign countries for the year 1877.
The hopeful feeling which prevailed in the letter of my predecessor, founded upon the reports from our several consular officers for the year 1876, that the depression which had so long paralyzed the trade and disarranged the industries of the commercial world was about to disappear, and that the year 1877 would witness the beginning of a revival in the trade and industries of all nations, has not, unfortunately, been realized. The accompanying reports from our various consular officers bear witness to the continued depression in manufactures, industries, and general trade of the several countries.
The commerce of latter years has drawn the nations so closely together, so interlaced their interests, that whatever affects the trade and industries of one is felt in all, and a crisis cannot occur in any one country of any commercial importance without producing, more or less, a crisis in all. No better illustration of this commercial sympathy between the several countries can be cited than the crisis of 1873, which from a local commencement became universal, and, by its precipitancy, most deplorable in its results. Unfortunately the science of guarding against, or the recovery from, commercial disarrangement does not seem to bave kept pace with the republicanizing of commerce; hence, depression and contraction in labor and nanufactures—in trade in generaland consequent suffering, still continue; the hope which, year by year, predicted their passing away, merely giving place to the faith that they must soon pass away.
As a testimony to the important position which our country occupies in the commercial world-a testimony which should be at once a national and an international incentive to our efforts to fulfill the hopes assigned to us-it may be noted that some of the best economical writers of Europe look for a revival of trade in the United States as the first hope for better times for all nations.
To enable you, without an extended research, to compare the trade of the sereral countries, and the relative position which the United States holds thereto, I give herewith an abstract of the trade and commerce of the vari. ons nations; the principal articles of import and export of each; the distribution of the trade of each among the principal countries; the principal cuontries from which those articles of import and export are received and shipped ; the nature of the imports and exports; the amount and
nature of the imports from and exports to the United States to and from the several countries; the countries with which our trade can be enlarged, and, where the information was obtainable, the means which should be taken to effect such enlargement.*
Owing to the impossibility of obtaining trustworthy statistics for the greater number of countries later than for the year 1876, and to pre. serve a necessary uniformity in the comparisons, the general treatment of the trade and commerce in this report is for that year; the trade aud commerce for 1877, where available, being treated specially.
Argentine Republic.—For the past six years there has been a marked decrease in the imports into the Argentine Republic, and as marked an increase in the exports therefrom. This resulted, in 1876, in a balance of trade for the first time in favor of the country, amounting to $11,626,000. This decrease and increase will be more plainly seen by the following statement:
Whether the decrease in imports above noted is due to decreased consumption, or decreased purchasing power caused by financial or politi. cal disarrangements, or to an increased capacity in the country to supply its own requirements, is not clearly indicated. The fact that the trade of 1876 is considered satisfactory to the Argentine authorities would lead to tbe conclusion that the decrease is the result of the development of home industries.
The value of the imports and exports of the Argentine Republic for the year 1876, and the proportions borne therein by the principal countries, were as follows:
In the decrease in the imports of 1876, as compared with the preceding year, the share borne by Great Britain was $6,682,000; I'rance, $4,087,000; and by the United States, $1,188,000.
All things being taken into consideration—the opportunities afforded, the requirements of the market, and our ability to supply those requirements-the meagerness of our trade with the Argentine Republic must
* STATISTICAL AUTHORITIES.— To save repetition in the quotation of anthorities, it may be stated that the statistics herewith given were compiled and arranged from the following sources: The reports from the United States consular officers, herewith submitted; British, French, Dutch, and other national official reports, the very full and almost perfect statistical publications of Great Britain being the sources mostly drawn on. The statistics relating to the imports and exports of the United States are compiled from the annual report on the commerce and navigation of the United States, Bureau of Statistics, Treasury Department.
be very apparent. A review of this trade for the past seven years goes to show that we have not even preserved the volume therein which we held in 1870, as the following figures attest:
Imports from the Exports to the
1870. 1871. 1872. 1873. 1874. 1875. 1876.
$2, 862, 338
2,067, 275 3, 505, 944 5, 167, 616 3, 949, 584 3, 069, 354 1, 880, 770
$3, 827, 530 3, 709, 357 4, 312, 355 3, 032, 945 3, 747, 300 3,055, 205 2, 393, 236
The following statement shows the navigation-entrances and clear. ances, sail and steam-at the several ports of the Argentine Republic during the years 1875 and 1876:
The navigation, distinguishing sail and steam, was as follows:
It will be seen by the above statement that the decrease in tonnage in 1876 was confined almost wholly to sailing vessels.
It may be noted, as a hope of what the near future may develop in this line, that one steamer flying the flag of the United States cleared from the Argentine Republic in 1876.
In response to the circulars issued from this department concerning the development of our trade with the several countries,* the United
* The "trade circulars” referred to throughout this letter were issued from the Department of State, one in July and the other in August, 1877. The circulars, which were transmitted to the diplomatic and consular oflicers of the United States in the several countries, requested those officials to transmit such commercial information and statistics covering their separate jurisdictions as would enable the Secretary of State to prepare the report upon the commercial relations of the United States with the several countries, as required by law. The extension of the trade of the United States with the several countries was particularly dwelt upon in the circulars.
The circulars, and such answers as were received thereto in time, were published in an appendix to Foreign Relationsf or 1877, to wbich publication reference is directed for further interesting particulars concerning our trado abroad.
States consul at Buenos Ayres says that our commercial relations with the Argentine Republic can be very much increased if our manufacturers and exporters will only take the necessary measures to reach that market. Direct steam communication between both countries is of the first importance in this development. There are direct lines of steam. ships plying between the Argentine Republic and the principal coun. tries of Europe, and the result is that those countries monopolize the greater portion of its trade. Explanations concerning the products and manufactures of the United States most suitable for the Argentine market, and various interesting details concerning the peculiarities of the market and the best manner of extending our trade therewith, will be found in the consular report above referred to, and published in the appendix to Foreigu Relations for 1877.
Austria-Hungary.—The value of the total special imports into Austria-Hungary during the year 1876 was $233,349,000; a decrease from the preceding year of $16,125,000. The special exports for the same year amounted to $230,831,000; an increase of $5,561,000 on the preceding sear.
The decrease in imports was principally in tobacco, dress-goods, machines, fancy goods, and glass and earthenware. A large increase occurred in cereals and woven stuffs.
The principal articles of import, and their value, for the year under consideration were as follows:
Of the above twelve principal articles of import, representing a value of $128,800,000, the United States supplied : tobacco, $710,000; leather and leatberware, $25,000.
The value of the total imports into Austria-Hnngary from the United States during the year 1876 was only $1,554,319. Of this total $1,406.000. is made up of tobacco and kerosene; the balance being composed of naval stores, $60,000; lard, $50,000; dye-stuffs, starch, and the leather and leather ware mentioned above. The imports from the United States for 1877 show an increase over the preceding year of $1,111,927. This increase is more than accounted for by the increase in the imports of kerosene alone, tobacco showing a decrease during the year.
The value of the exports to the United States for 1877, as declared at our several consulates in Austria-Hungary, was $3,375,000; a decrease of over $118,000 from the preceding year.
Whether we take the articles of import and export, or the volume and value of the same, into account, the trade between the United States and Austria-Hungary is remarkably insignificant, and, even in its smallness, unfavorable to the United States. The imports from the United States are composed almost wholly of comparatively crude products, while the exports to the United States are made up of fancy manufactured articles, such as buttons, linens, pipes, gloves, glassware, &c.articles wbich bave passed through the utmost manipulation in their preparation for our market—the single item of buttons alone, in a total export to the United States of $3,375,000, amounting te $750,000.