Germany and the Russian Markets.
By Oscar M. Kartoschinsky.
Long before the war, it was said in Europe, and particularly in Russia, that of all the colonies Germany had, Russia was the most profitable one!
And there was truth in this statement. The whole of Russia, from the Western provinces bordering on Germany, to the most remote corners of Siberia, was flooded with articles of German production. The trade-mark "Made in Germany" had penetrated through every pore of the Russian body politic. German cloth was rapidly driving out the English. German foot-wear largely replaced not only the imported goods, but even that produced by the Russian factories. The dry goods were almost entirely of German make. Paper, chemicals, and drugs came across the border in enormous quantities. The dyes were almost exclusively German.
In metal industries the Germans were even more successful. As a result of thorough and efficient work on the part of their salesmen and other commercial representatives, the French and English tools and cutlery were almost entirely driven out of Russia, and their place was taken by those of German make. Russian carpenters, cabinet-makers, masons, paper-hangers, locksmiths, blacksmiths, and mechanics of all kinds were almost all equipped with tools imported from Germany.
In the field of agricultural implements and machinery, the Germans encountered considerable difficulty in competing with American goods. In view of the fact that there exists an import duty of 2r. lOcop. per "poud" (36.11 pounds avoirdupois) on agricultural implements brought into Russia, the Germans could not compete with the Americans in point of cheapness. Moreover, the reputation of American agricultural machinery in Russia is firmly established.
But the Germans found a way of getting around this difficulty also. The import duty regulations make an exception in the case of parts of agricultural machinery, needed for replacement or repair. The Germans made advantageous use of this, by leaving the sale of machinery in the hands of Americans, and displacing them in the field of selling parts. German factories, working exclusively on production of parts for agricultural implements, rapidly grew up in the Western provinces of Russia.