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Morocco trade, and to the introduction of a new line of four large British steainships running between London, Lisbon, Spain, Madeira, the Canary Islands, and the coast of Morocco. It is needless to add that no American vessel entered any of the ports of Morocco during the year.
CONSULAR OPINION CONCERNING AMERICAN TRADE. There are many difficulties in the way of establishing direct trade between the Barbary States and the United States, chief of which is the waut of steam communication, the absence of American agents or agencies, and the possession of the markets by England and France. These difficulties, however, meet us, or have met us, everywhere, and they should be no more difficult to overcome in those countries than else. where. Where other producers and manufacturers effect trade settlements we should be able to secure footing by using similar appliances. It might not pay for the effort and the outlay, which are the essentials of trade introduction into and development in the Barbary States, but those States would be only so many links in the great commercial chain' which must belt Africa, if we hope to secure our rightful place in its trade.
Although Consul Mathews, of Tangier, bas written much and ably, not only concerning the commerce of Morocco, but upon the trade and customs of the interior of Africa, he has not written anything concerning the feasibility of the development of direct trade between his consular district and the United States.Vice-Consul Cobb, of Casa Blanca, in a report published in the March (1881) number of the Consular Reports, refers as follows to his experience in his attempts to introduce American trade into his district:
Since I have resided bere I have used every endeavor to bring American manufactured goods and merchandise into this country. I have received many letters froin different manufacturing companies and merchants from all parts of the United States, making all sorts of inquiries pertaining to their business and otherwise, all of which I have answered with great care and attention. Twenty-one letters of this kind I have sent off by one mail, giving all possible information, the result of which I presume in most cases has been unsatisfactory. Srill, determined to see what could be done, I have imported from the United States, on my own account, the following articles: Deep-well and cistern pumps, sewing-machines, plows, twelve different kinds of wooden ware, carts and harnesses, petroleum and petroleum lamps, corn-shellers and winnowing-machines, and have erected on my premises a small steam flour-mill, with a circular-saw bench, a turning-lathe, and shearing-machine attached. The Moors take a great interest in all these enterprises, but it requires an operator to show such things up in order to sell them. The Moors are so ignorant that great patience must be exercised to teach them to perform. By the aid of experienced operators, I am of the opinion that farming implements might find a paying market here, although labor-saving machines would not have the value which other conntries give them.
Sewing-machines would sell in all the cities in the interior. There are many articles about the premises of a well-to-do Moor, of nice stitching, and I was told in Fez and Maquinez that the Jews were very fond of sewing-machines. Some of them had seen such things, but an operator must go with them to make it a success. In all the artieles I have introduced here I have been compelled to be the operator. To sell a pump, I must put it in position, then take hold of the handle and show the operation.
Mr. Jones, formerly consul at Tripoli, in a report received at the Department about the beginning of 1881, wrote as follows concerning American trade possibilities in his district.
TRADE BETWEEN TRIPOLI AND THE UNITED STATES.
During the past year I have received many letters from American houses. These letters, as a rule, were from the manufacturers of wind-mills, improved agricultural implements, tire-arms, and hardware. For the present none of the articles, with the exception of fire-arms, could find a sale here, as would readily be seen by a perusal of my remarks upon these subjects to be found in my report for 1878–79. At first sight
the impression would naturally be conceived that the windmill would of course replace the cow wbich now acts as a motive power in drawing water from the well for the purpose of irrigation.
But when the general poverty of the inhabitants of this country is taken into consideration, a farmer here rarely owning more than two acres of ground, his other property consisting of a cabin built of sand, which invariably has to be rebuilt after the rainy season, during which it falls, and frequently with fatal effect to its inmates, besides, perhaps, a few barracans, which serve at night as bedding and during the day as raiment, the conclusion is easily reached that anything entailing an outlay of capital, such as would be required for the erection of a windmill, could not be profitably introduced here. For the same reason the introduction of improved agricultural implements, as also many of the most necessary articles of hardware, would not be found profitable. For cheap fire-arms there is a limited demand, but this article, being contraband, bas always to be smuggled, which usually entails considerable expense. For this reason the gun or revolver is generally sold to the Arab for two or three times its original cost, which places it beyond the reach of many of those desirous of purchasing.
I must now, however, remark tbat in no single instance have I received a letter from any of our y avufacturers of cotton goods.
This is the more surprising, as in all my reports from here I have invariably en. deavored to demonstrate that the importation in this article gave promise, owing to the trade with the interior, of great increase, and that it was a branch of commerce in which, in my opinion, the American manufacturer could eventually compete with advantage. In my report on the trade of cotton fabrics I gave the name of a firm which had declared itself ready to undertake the introduction of our cotton goods, but they have as yet received no communication whatever upon the subject from America.
Since my appointment to this post one cargo of esparto grass has been shipped to the United States; as it has not been repeated, I presume the venture was attended with loss. On the Ist September, of the current year, a case of ostrich feathers was shipped to New York, and I hope the shipper will meet with more success than proved to be the case with respect to the cargo of esparto.
This shows an inclination on the part of merchants here to enter into commercial relation with the United States. To a great measure, no doubt, the success of the commerce of England can be attributed to the system of receiving the products of different countries in exchange for hers; this, however, is not the case with the United States. Although the ostrich featbers and esparto grass, for example, from Tripoli eventually reached the United States, it was only after baving passed through English or French hands, by whom the first were dressed, and the second prepared for the making of paper.
The imports from the United States consist of small quantities of flour and a few cases of canned meats, oysters, lobsters, with about $10,000 yearly of petroleum. None of these articles are ordered directly from the United States, but are generally purchased in England, and arrive here via Malta.
Besides the above-mentioned articles, small lots of Winchester rifles are from time to time smuggled into this regency. Some of these guns are sold here, others being sent to the interior, where, I am informed, they are disposed of at great profit. I hear that an order is to be sent to the United States for the purchase of 500 of these guns to be landed at Bengasi. These guns are imported for the purpose of arming the Arabs and negroes who accompany the caravans into the interior,
Mr. Jones, in a later report; published in the Cotton Goods Trade of the World, says:
Since my arrival here the cotton trade of this regency, which shows a steady annual increase, has ever occupied my attention. I have let no occasion escape to impress upon the minds of the merchants here that there is a material advantage to be obtained by importing their cotton goods from America, but owing to the manner in which this trade is carried on in the majority of cases, and of which I have spoken at length in my annual reports for the years 1878 and 1879, to which I respectfully refer you, I have in the past been unable to persuade any merchant here to test the veracity of my assertion. I have now, however, to inform you that Messrs. Guiseppe & Francesco Galea (wholesale merchants, who give their whole attention to the importation of cotton yarns and cotton goods, and gentlemen whose business integrity is unquestionable, and to whom I am principally indebted for the information contained in this dispatch) have declared themselves ready to receive and attempt the introduction of our goods into this regency. To begin with, they would only desire the shipment of three or four bales of assorted goods for the purpose of ascertaining what quality of American goods will meet with most favor in this market. Messrs. Galea are unwilling to take the risk of the possible loss which may be incurred by the importation of these goods, saying they are entirely in the dark as regards their prices and the expenses incidental to their shipment from Ainerica to Tripoli; but, as I have said, they
will receive and dispose of them to the best advantage, and, if they find it profitable, will then open business relations with some of our manufacturers, returning drafts for goods received.
I am most desirous to solve practically the question whether cur goods can compete advantageously with similar products of English manufacture in this market, and I therefore hope that there may be some of our manufacture
hope that there may be some of our manufacturers sufficiently enterprising to second me in this undertaking. The loss, after all, if such there be, on a small shipment of goods could be but insignificant, whereas the benefit to be derived, if the undertaking prove successful, would be considerable. Something of this kind will have to be done if our goods are ever to reach these distant markets. Much will depend upon the issue of this first trial wbich the merchant or manufacturer who may act upon Messrs. Galea's suggestion should take fully into consideration.
In connection with this subject, I deem it regrettable that the United States never attempted to obtain an influence, not to say possession of any part of the African continent, not so much for the mere advantage that the possession of ihe coast would confer. but as a road through which its manufactures might be introduced into the interior. France and England, both manufacturing nations, besides their other vast possessions, are gradually extending their influence over this entire continent, and the doors to its (estimated) population of 200,000,000, all consumers, will be completely closed to the American merchant. In the day, which is in the near future, when America can compete successfully in any branch of manufactured articles, we will hear of protective tariffs in other countries besides our own, and these tariffs, wbere possible, will be also extended to their colonies.
Consul Robeson, in his report on the commerce of Tripoli for the year 1881, notes, as something which may help to increase direct trade with the United States, the extension of the route of the Transatlantic Steamship Company's vessels along the Barbary coast from Tripoli to Tunis. This will enable the company to give through bills of lading from Tripoli to New York via Marseilles. Although the freight by this route is high ($20 per ton at the date of the consul's writiug), it is ex. pected that it will materially enlarge the direct trade with the United States.
Mr. Heap, at present consul-generalat Constantinople, who filled the consulate at Tunis for many years, and who gave much consideration to the possibilities of introducing American manufactures into the Barbary States, thought that furniture, clocks, watches, sewing-machines, cheap cotton goods, refined petroleum, lamps, carpenters' tools, firearms, woodenware, wall-paper, cheese, and various articles of provisions should find a market there.
COMMERCE OF EGYPT. The foreign trade of Egypt, according to the very interesting report from Consul-General Wolf, of Cairo, for the year ending August 31, 1881, was as follows: Imports, $29,609,000; exports, $57,852,000, a decrease, as compared with the preceding year, in imports of $2,280,000, and in exports of nearly $6,000,000.
According to the same report, the distribution of this trade among the principal countries was as follows:
Consul-General Wolf claims that the foregoing estimates are incorrect as far as the United States is concerned, and do not show anything like our trade with Egypt.
The direct trade between Egypt and the United States, during the year ending June 30, 1881, according to the returns of the Bureau of Statistics of the Treasury Department, which corresponds substantially with the year given by Consul-General Wolf, was as follows: Imports from Egypt, $423,478; exports to Egypt, $582,630. Of the latter all but $111 was represented by petroleum and other mineral oils. Even this does not show anything like the trade in American produce and manufactures in that country. Irrespective of the goods reaching Egypt through the courtesy of foreign countries and foreign merchants, and which are credited to those countries, Consul General Wolf gives a schedule of nearly one hundred different articles, principally manu. factures, imported from the United States into Alesandria by the house of J. F. Milliken alone. As these imports do not figure as American in either our own or the Egyptian customs, they must have been received via England or France, and so credited.
Thus the value of American produce and manufactures consiuneal in Egypt and credited to other countries must be considerable, but considerable as it may be, it is nothing to what it could become through the appliances of direct communication and personal mercantile effort.
The greater portion of Egyptian trade being with England and France, the following tables, collated from the official reports of those countries, will illustrate the character of this commerce, and enable American ex. porters and manufacturers to measure their ability to compete for a share thereof.
Imports into England from Egypt during the year 1880.
Cotton, raw .......
$23, 962, 000
204, 000 Rags and other paper materials
Oil-seed cakes ....
364, 000 1, 113,000
131, 000 106, 000 174, 000 63, 000 34, 000
29, 000 1, 234, 000
Total cereals ............ Gums, principally Arabic .........
The articles unenumerated in the foregoing table were flax, dried fruit, hides (raw), indigo, olive oil, perfumery, refined sugar and candy, tea, goats' hair, &c.
Export8 from England to Egypt during the year 1880.
25,000 103, 000 1. 100, 000
Cotton goods (144, 125,000 yards)......
$8,536, 000' Chemicals ........
536, 000 | Aims, ammunition, books, clocks,
14, 876, 000
556, 000 15, 432, 000
The foreign and colonial produce and manufactures embraced such articles as arms, dyes, tanuing stuffs, manufactures of iron and steel, pepper, rice, spirits, tea, manufactured tobacco, wine, wood and timber, principally sawed pine, &c.
Imports into France from Egypt,
$3, 463, 000
$2, 823,000 1,782, 000
157,000 385, 000
541, 000 1, 806, 000
638,000 351, 000 181, 000
6, 247, 000
Exports from France to Egypt.
Gold and platinum, hammered or drawn.