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some information relating to the regulations and the position of the sugar industry in the European beetgrowing countries—especially in France, seeing that it was her delegates who caused the shipwreck of the Conference of 1898.
This, then, is our excuse for the present edition.
When I undertook the translation I intended to reduce all weights and measures and currency to the English standard, so as to make the perusal of the following pages less difficult to the reader. But as the work proceeded I found that this was totally impossible, and I was, nolens volens, obliged to adhere to the decimal system and the currency of the various countries concerned.
THE LONDON OFFICE OF “LE SIECLE," 32, CHARING CROSS. S. W.
August 18th, 1901.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
SUGAR QUESTION IN 1901.
LEGISLATION IN EUROPE DEALING
Common Features of Legislation.
BOUNTIES are the basis of the whole sugar industry in Europe. In industrial phraseology the word bounties means a reduction of taxes or a direct remuneration granted to a fixed production.
The International Conference held at Brussels in 1898, gave the following definition of sugar bounties :
The Conference, without concerning itself with arrangements and provisional measures which exceptional circumstances may justify, is of opinion that by bounties is understood all advantages granted to manufacturers and refiners by governmental fiscal laws, and supported directly or indirectly by the State Treasury. The following are specially to be counted as such :
(a). Direct allowances on exports.
(c). Total or partial exemption of taxes on a part of the manufactured products.
(d). Indirect advantages arising from an excess of yield or manufacture over the amount fixed by law.
(e). Profits accruing from an excessive drawback.
The Conference considers also that advantages similar to those which are derived from premiums of the aforesaid description, might arise
from a disproportion between import duties and consumption duties (surtax), especially when sugar trusts are brought, forced or encouraged into existence by governments. The conference deems it highly desir. able that the surtaxes should be regulated so as to limit their action to the protection of the home market.
The legislation on sugar in the various countries of Europe has the following common features :
1. To push the production of sugar.
These results are obtained through premiums on production, granted in a direct and open way as in France, or in disguised manner as in Belgium and Russia ; or by direct export bounties as in Germany, Austria-Hungary, and, since the law of 1897, in France. Yet, we must admit, that the most inconsistent of all the legislations on this subject is the French legislation which amalgamates production and export bounties, and which, though it is organized to shut the door on foreign sugar and to facilitate the export of the French product, provides for differential taxation in favour of long-travelled goods (détaxe de distance), so as to draw into French ports sugar made in Réunion and the French West Indies, and also of native sugar carried by French coasting vessels (détaxe de cabotage), in order to help the refining industry of the French seaports (law of 1897, art. 2 and 3).
All these legislations have one feature in common instability. We intend to show at once the changes they have undergone during the last twenty years, their character and position to-day, and their influence on production, home consumption, and trade.
French Legislation. THE bounty system came into existence in the middle of the 17th century. On the 28th September, 1648, the prohibition to export raw sugar was repealed, and by