Pubdate: February 16, 1837
Source: 24th Congress, 2d Session. Rep. No. 229. Ho. of Reps.
Title: Drawback of Duties. [To accompany Senate bill No. 3.]
Pages: 1, 4-5

Mr. Gillet, from the Committee on Commerce, to which had been referred the bill from the Senate (No. 3) to allow a drawback of duties on imported hemp, when manufactured into cordage and exported, made the following report:

The Committee on Commerce had under consideration a bill from the Senate to allow a drawback of the duties on imported hemp, when manufactured into cordage and exported, and ask leave to report:

The principle of allowing a drawback of the duties on the exportation of goods imported from a foreign country was established in the navigation act of the 2d of March, 1799. That act provides for a repayment of the duties upon gods shipped, under certain circumstances, in original packages. The general principles established in that act remain unaltered, and its provisions are still in force. The propriety of allowing a debenture on the exportation of foreign goods has not been, so far as your committee are informed, questioned, to any considerable extent. The only essential changes made since the law of 1799, in this respect, relate to the extension of the principles of that act.
. . .

The principle of allowing a drawback on the exportation of foreign articles, after being manufactured here, is clearly established. It then only remains for us to decide upon the expediency of applying the principle to a particular measure. Your committee cannot perceive any solid objection to extending the principle of drawback to all cases where there are no conflicting interests, except such as are too complicated for practical administration. The memorialists allege (and no doubt truly) that "cordage is required for assorted cargoes to South America, the East and West Indies, &c.; and an estimate may be formed of its importance from the fact, that during the past four years, there have been imported into the United States 7,594,281 lbs. of tarred cordage, of which 6,128,874 lbs. have been exported in the same period. It is evident that the article is imported almost exclusively for the purpose of export; and there can be no doubt that, if it can be unburdened with duties on the raw material, or if entitled to drawback, American cordage would, in a great measure, take its place. Even with the present very heavy duty on hemp, and without drawback, American cordage has been exported during the past two years to the value of $37,000. The policy of England in this respect forms a striking contrast to our own; foreign cordage is prohibited by her, and but the nominal duty of one penny per cwt. is imposed on hemp. In most other European countries hemp is extensively grown; and the consequence is, that the markets elsewhere are supplied with cordage manufactured in Europe, either by direct supply, or by its export from this country, to the comparative exclusion of our own. The average import of hemp for the last ten years has been 4,700 tons per annum, costing about $5000,000, and requiring for its transport about 9,000 tons of shipping; the whole of this vast amount is manufactured into cordage in this country, requiring from fifteen to twenty thousand barrels of tar annually, (furnished chiefly from Virginia and North Carolina,) and employing a large number of people in its direct manufacture, and a very considerable amount of coating tonnage in its transport. Were a drawback allowed, the manufacture would be much extended and increased, employment would be given to our shipping, hemp would take the place of cordage as an article of import, and double the amount of tonnage is required for the same weight of that article."

The weight of the hemp is increased about twenty-five per cent. by the addition of the tar used in manufacturing it into cordage. It is therefore proposed to allow a drawback of the duty on only three-fourths of the weight of the cordage exported.

From the facts here stated, and the conclusions that naturally follow from them, the committee have come to the conclusion to recommend the passage of the bill. . . .


Mr. Gillet, from the Committee on Commerce, to which was referred the bill from the Senate (No. 3) to allow a drawback of duties on imported hemp, when manufactured into cordage and exported, reported the same, with an amendment:

AN ACT to allow a drawback of duties on imported hemp, when manufactured into cordage and exported.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the thirtieth day of September, eighteen hundred and thirty-seven, upon the exportation to a foreign country of cordage manufactured from hemp of foreign growth, there shall be allowed and paid to the exporter of each and every ton of such cordage, as a drawback of the duty paid on the hemp from which it was manufactured, such a sum as will be equal to three-fourths of the duty, at the time of its importation, on a ton of the hemp consumed in its manufacture: Provided, That the person exporting the said cordage shall swear or affirm that the same, according to his belief, was manufactured form hemp imported from a foreign country; which oath or affirmation, in case the collector of the customs shall not be satisfied therewith, shall be supported by the certificate of a reputable manufacturer of cordage to the same effect: Provided, also That the requirements and regulations applicable to the drawback of duties on the exportation of other articles be complied with: And provided, further, That this act shall cease to be in force whenever the drawback on cordage shall be equal in amount to the duty on imported hemp.

Pass the Senate, January 19, 1837
Attest: Asbury Dickins, Secretary.