Necessary Aids to Future Growth.
It may be said, indeed, that we have hardly more than entered upon a novitiate in fitting ourselves for international competition. The establishment of sample warehouses and agencies at important trade centers, the employment of commercial travelers conversant with the language, customs, trade usages of particular countries; the development of adequate banking and transportation facilities; the adoption of proper methods of packing; the offering of more liberal credits—these are some of the conditions of the full utilization of our opportunities in foreign markets. If to these is added provision for a larger volume of exchange with countries which, to a greater or less extent, are now excluded from our markets, the real strength of our competitive powers will be developed.
Increasing Popular Interest in Foreign Trade.
It is encouraging to note that the people of the United States are becoming more and more sensible of the value of foreign trade and the importance of intelligent and well-directed efforts for its expansion. The growth of popular comprehension and approval is illustrated not only by the establishment of commercial museums, the organization of export associations, the demand for the creation of a separate department of the Federal Government having special charge of industry and commerce, and for the improvement of the consular service as an agency of commercial expansion, but also by the fact that our educational institutions, one after another, are rapidly adopting commercial instruction as an important feature of their work. Even the ordinary high schools are engrafting commercial geography upon their courses, and during the past year, the Bureau of Foreign Commerce has received applications from teachers and scholars in many parts of the country for copies of monthly and other consular reports as aids in this branch of study. The requests for information as to trade conditions in foreign countries from manufacturers and exporters have multiplied rapidly, and it may now be said that there is hardly an important business concern in the United States having a present or prospective interest in foreign trade which does not avail itself of the data furnished by the consular service.
Conditions in Undeveloped Markets.
The relation of the economic forces of the United States to those of Europe may be taken as the surest index to the probable future of our trade with the rest of the world; for it must be evident that, if we can continue to compete with European industries in their home markets, we shall have but little to fear from their rivalry in the neutral or undeveloped markets, where we would meet them on an equal footing.