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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/310

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296
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ceded. In July, 1887, Russia increased her duties—which were before very high—on the imports of all foreign iron and steel, to a point that is regarded as nearly or quite prohibitory of all imports; and Germany, which has heretofore had an important market for her iron and steel wares in Russia, and has also been a large purchaser of Russian grain, has now determined to further advance her duties upon the import of all foreign cereals, her object being avowedly to shut out American as well as Russian competition. Belgium, which for many years has been the typical free-trade state of the world, and which, in 1885, by her Chamber of Deputies, refused to entertain a proposition to restrict the importation of cattle into the country, has since then, and mainly by a recognition of an inability to compete with the prices established for meats and grain by the United States and other foreign countries, felt compelled to impose high duties on the importation of all live-stock and dead meats—fresh, smoked, or salted.

In Sweden and Norway, on the other hand, where, during the past year, an effort was made under similar circumstances to restrict by increased duties the entry of foreign flour and other breadstuffs, the proposition was signally defeated by the return of a large adverse majority to the lower house of the Swedish Riksdag. A new tariff, embodying the extreme protective principle recently adopted by Brazil, imposes high and almost prohibitory duties on the importations of rice and all other cereals produced in the country, and, as Brazil has heretofore imported annually some two hundred thousand sacks of rice from foreign countries, the disturbance of trade in this particular is likely to be serious.

The United States having imposed heavy duties on the importations of French wines and silks, France improves on the precedent thus established, and excludes by relatively higher duties the importation into her territories of American pork. The Helvetic Confederation, in negotiating with Germany for a renewal of a treaty of commerce, broadly intimates that unless the result of negotiations is satisfactory it will take measures to check the importation of German merchandise in the future into Switzerland; while the termination by original stipulation of a treaty of commercial reciprocity between France and Italy in 1887, has been regarded with feelings of unmixed satisfaction by many persons in both countries, by reason of the opportunity that is to be afforded for mutually increasing the duties on their respective importations. A somewhat striking illustration of the present drift of popular sentiment in France on this subject is also to be found in the fact, that in July, 1887, the French Government, by a formal decree, absolutely prohibited the future importation of "plants, flowers, cut or in pots, of fruits, fresh vegetables, and, in general, of all horticultural and market-garden produce of Italian origin"; chestnuts without their shells excepted.

It is further most interesting to note how, as the idea of the de-