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Uruguayan returns for the above year of $8,724,000. Assuming that the trade with all other countries has even held its own since 1879, the following may be considered a fair estimate, of the present foreign trade of the republic: Imports, $19,400,000; exports, $22,600,000. The greater portion of this trade is effected through Montevideo.
The principal trade of Uruguay is with Great Britain, France, the United States, Brazil, Spain, Germany, and Belgium.
The nature and extent of the trade relations of Great Britain, France, and the United States will be seen in the following statement :
Apparel and harberdashery.....
By the yard......
By the yard ............
Total British goods ...........
The imports into the United States from Uruguay during the fiscal year 1881 amounted to $4,165,000, a decrease of $1,260,000 from the preceding year. The principal imports from Uruguay were hides and skins, $2,960,000; wool, $883,000; and hair, $118,000. The principal decrease herein noted occurred in hides and skins.
The domestic exports from the United States to Uruguay during the year under review amounted to $1,536,000; the exports of foreign goods amounted to $76,000, making a total export of $1,612,000. Small as these exports may appear in comparison with England and France, they show an increase on those of 1880 of nearly 100 per cent. The principal increase occurred in cotton manufactures, our exports thereof in 1881 amounting to $580,000, against $240,000 in 1880.
A comparative statement of the principal exports from Great Britain, and the value of the exports of similar articles from the United States will enable our manufacturers to appreciate the fact that there is a large field for the enlargement of our trade in Uruguay.
The following review of the trade of Uruguay with the United States, by Consul Russell, of Montevideo, will enable our manufacturers and exporters to appreciate the disadvantages which must be overcome before our trade in the republic approaches anywhere near the volume of British trade. In pointing out the best means for the enlargement of our trade therein, the consul's opinions are deserving of the highest consideration.
TRADE BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND URUGUAY.
On the subject of trade with the United States, I prefer, instead of my own views, to give, as of greater value, the result of interviews with some of our prominent business men, well qualified to speak on the subjects to which I invited their attention.
Conversing with one of the leading and most intelligent importing merchants of this city, be remarked substantially:
“We read with great interest the American export journals, and notice the natural desire on the part of our American cousins and the laudable co-operation of their government to extend their trade, but, as regards the River Plate country in general, and Montevideo particularly, he tbought they bad not much reason to complain, as they not only held their own, but relatively, at least, increased their field of occupation. If, however, American manufacturers just now find a limit to the money value of what they export to this market, they must bear in mind that here the limit is readily reached and as readily accounted for by the fact that we have not the population, the consumers. From 1875 to 1878 they were actually sending us plows at the rate of at least a dozen for every inbabitant, the same idea common to Europe seeming to prevail in the United States, that somewhere in the River Plate country there was an immense population, flush of money but bare of everything else. In spite of strained efforts, Montevideo can therefore, for the reason given, take but a small sup. ply comparatively of foreign manufactures, and where trade is coerced, the market becomes overstocked, prices fall, and orders diminish. American scientific and commercial journals, devoted to the American export trade, illustrated by explanatory diagrams of machinery and of manufactured articles of every description, with accompanying price-lists, &c., and intelligent commercial travelers from the States, provided with abundant and attractive samples, certainly afford full information to and are highly appreciated by our merchants; still the merchant himself must be the judge of what his market needs and will bear and command profitable sale. If he imports a number of packages of certain goods and finds a ready market for them at prices affording a fair margin of profit, he will require neither recommendation nor persuasion from any one to induce him to repeat his order, and will choose the market which suits him best. Hence, frequently, commercial travelers whose industry and efforts deserve success, are obliged to close the exhibition of their samples and leave, lamenting the failure of their mission."
Another, a prominent English merchant, remarked to me that he was the first to import Fairbanks scales into this city. Why? Not because of any partiality for the Messrs. F., whom he had never seen, but because, in his opinion, exercising his own judgment, their machines were, as he has found them to be, superior to those manufactured in his own country.
Another English house, extensively dealing in agricultural implements, informs me, I regret to say, that of the thrashing machines imported into this market of 8 and 10 horse-power, there being none of 12 horse-power, the English machines are uniformly preferred for the reason that they are much stronger and more thoroughly cleanse and Separate the grains. These are hints that may be of some service to American manufacturers who are capable of manufacturing specially for this or any other market; and althongh the field of Uruguay is, as already intimated, limited, it is believed that a capable resident general agent, representing various manufacturing and mercantile tirms in the United States, with various specimens and samples in his depository of machinery to be explained and goods to be described, thus, as it were, maintaining a permanent exhibition thereof, might prove an efficient means of introducing Ameri. can wares into this market, whilst the cost of maintaining such depository by a nuinber of merchants and manufacturers would not be seriously felt by any.
It must be stated, however, that certain advantages are claimed for European markets. A lower rate of interest and the greater general financial facilities obtainable in London and Paris are considerations urged as making access to trade and negotiations with the United States more difficult because more expensive than in Europe. American houses, too, are not, as a rule, disposed to grant the same terms of payment as European houses. Whilst the former frequently exact payment in New York before the goods are shipped, the latter are always ready and glad to sell on six months' time, or even on open account. European houses, too, give greater attention to the making up of their catalogues, price lists, &c., in the language of the country, and generally employ foreign correspondence clerks to look after their interests. It is further complained that the agents of American houses have, in repeated instances, failed to execute orders taken from responsible houses without even advising the parties by whom they were given of the reason for so doing, whether because of prices having meanwhile gone up, or because the contract did not prove satisfactory to their employers at home.
I would also respectfully suggest that merchants and manufacturers cannot be too careful in keeping up the standard of their articles. For instance, it is said that during the last two or three years sugar refined in the United States is neither as sweet nor white as it was four or five years ago. Another iustance, coming under my own observation, was a late shipment of 250 cases of canned goods from New York, examiped and inspected by a survey called and appointed for the purpose, when the tins turned out less than one-quarter of what they were represented to contain.
STEAM COMMUNICATION. ,
All parties agree upon the necessity of direct steam communication, and upon the want of it as the chief obstacle in the way of immediate further development of commerce between the United States and the River Plate.
Some fifteen or twenty years ago, I am told, steam communication between the River Plate and Europe was quite insignificant, limited, as it then was, to but one or two sailings per month. Both passenger travel and commercial interconrse between these countries were subjected to serious draw back and inconvenience owing to the transshipment at Rio de Janeiro of both passengers and cargo, the large steamers from and to Europe coming no further than and returning from that port.
Small steamers were employed by English and French companies between Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo. Two companies, however, a few years later, decided to send their large steamers directly through, causing considerable increase of the passenger and cargo traffic with Europe, and creating an active competition to secure it, which, besides resulting in greater facilities of communication, so reduced in a short time the enormons rates previously charged, that the fare for first-class passengers fell from £70 to £35, and cargo or freight charges were reduced in like proportion. Both imports and psports from and to Europe increased rapidly, whilst coinmercial intercourse with the l'nited States, owing to the dilatory and uncertain communication, remained almost stagnant, with the exception of lumber cargoes imported generally via England.
Telegraphic communication having since been established with Europe, and steamets increased in number almost daily, sailings are now advertised, supplying very largely the requirements of the markets of the Plate, whilst the bulk of our exports go to European markets.
With the United States, communication has been greatly facilitated by means of the telegraphic cable to Europe, and by the establishment of a line of steamers between New York and Rio de Janeiro, but commercial transactions, as compared with Europe, are yet, and must continue to be, very limited, until a direct through line of steamers to the Plate River ports has been established. Until this is accomplished our merchants and manufacturers will, I fear, only continue to realize the failure of their enterprising efforts, through agents, circulars, and price-lists, to create and establish here a permapent trade, however materially such expedients may, as heretofore suggested, aid in presenting American goods to the notice of consumers.
Ope serious difficulty in The way of establishing a direct steamship line between New York and the River Plate, which bas heretofore existed, has been the quarantine regulations consequent upon the sanitary condition of the Brazilian ports during half the year. This difficulty may now be regarded as in a great measure, if not entirely, removed by a developmemt of trade sufficient to enable steamers to obtain full direct cargoes for the River Plate, without depending on Brazil. Returning, they might at first find it necessary in occasional instances to look to Brazil for a balance of cargo.
Beside the impulse which a steam line wonld give to passenger traffic, by making the River Plate country more generally known and visited, the trade in certain articles would no doubt immediately more than double. For instance, the importation of refined sugar has fallen off very largely, principally on account of the great risk of injury from dampness during the long voyage of sailing vessels, which, too, as a rule, are not as well ventilated as steamers. Other perishable articles, especially in the line of provisions, will also find their way to a much greater extent as soon as voyages can be made promptly and quickly, and dealers thus enabled to make some approximate calculation of the time when goods ordered may be expected to reach their market. No such calculation can now be made. Brazilian merchants, too, in view of the uncertain length of their voyages, risk of damage from dampness, fluctuation of markets, &c., are disinclined to shipping coffee on sailing vessels, or on vessels carrying hides or wool; but by building steamers for the trade this difficulty, I am assured, would also disappear.
FOREIGN COMMERCE OF THE ARGENTINE REPUBLIC.
According to the interesting annual review of Argentine commerce, by Consul Baker, of Buenos Ayres, the foreign trade of the republic was as follows during the year 1890: Imports, $44,067,000-a decrease of $811,000 from the preceding year; exports, $56,497,000—an increase of $8,732,000 on the preceding year.
The foregoing returos are based upon customs valuations, which, in the opinion of Consul Baker, do not represent more than two-thirds of the real value of tbe goods.
The foregoing trade was effected principally through the following ports:
It will be seeu by the foregoing statement that wbile France and Belgium lead England in the export trade England sells o the Argentine Republic more merchandise than both those countries combiner-in fact, nearly as much as France, Belgium, and Germany combineil. In the