Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XXII: FOREIGN TRADE BETWEEN 1860 AND 1903—FRANCE AND ENGLAND - The Comedy of Protection
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CHAPTER XXII: FOREIGN TRADE BETWEEN 1860 AND 1903—FRANCE AND ENGLAND - Yves Guyot, The Comedy of Protection 
The Comedy of Protection, trans. M.A. Hamilton (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1906).
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FOREIGN TRADE BETWEEN 1860 AND 1903—FRANCE AND ENGLAND
Trade in 1855-1859 and 1861-1865—1876-1880 and 1882-1886—1882-1886 and 1899-1903—Stagnation—Comparison with the United Kingdom—Verification of Free Trade prophecies.
I have already adduced facts which prove that the commercial treaties of 1860 had not ruined even those manufacturers who made the loudest outcry against them. Looking at our specifically foreign trade as a whole during the quinquennial period preceding and following them, we can state—
These results were produced by the silent labour of two economists, who had gradually cancelled some tariffs and modified others, with the result that the annual average of French imports rose £28,600,000, or 41 per cent.; exports £26,800,000, or 35 per cent.—a total increase of £55,440,000, 38 per cent.; results which may well be compared with those noisy enterprises which pretend to find expansion for trade with muskets and cannons. Every advantage is on the side of those who free the natural outlets for trade from the barriers by which they have been shut off. It is hardly necessary to say that the disasters of 1870, the loss of Alsace and Lorraine, did not assist the development of French industry and wealth. During the last quinquennial period—1876-1880—following the treaty these are the figures—
which represents an increase of £106,200,000, or 52 per cent., over the period 1861-1865.
In 1881 came reaction; the ad valorem were replaced by specific duties, and some duties were raised. England refused under these conditions to renew the commercial treaty. In the following period—1882-1886—the annual average was for—
and taking the last quinquennial period for which exact figures can be given, we find—1899-1903—the annual average to be—
These figures for our foreign trade ought to inspire serious reflection. They remained, during the last quinquennial period, within four millions of those for 1876-1880, and exactly equal to those for 1882-1886. While foreign trade was thus stagnant, the total trade of France had increased 52 per cent. between 1861-1865 and 1876-1880. Those who upheld the Balance of Trade theory said with enthusiasm: “All the better, for imports have diminished and exports increased.” But how much? Ten per cent. There is stagnation here also, for the increase in exports between 1861-1865 and 1876-1880 had been 24 per cent. I know some one will say, “Prices have fallen,’ and so they have, but relatively to the preceding period they had fallen in 1876-1880; and if they fell in France they also fell in England, while England remained true to Free Trade. Compare the results:—
Then comparing the development per cent. in the two countries—
These figures lead to the following conclusions: England, already possessing a greater measure of liberty, received during the first quinquennial period less stimulus than France from the commercial treaty, In the last period—1876-1880—the increase in the percentage of imports is greater in France than in England, and in the percentage of exports rather less; but France had lost Alsace and Lorraine. After the 1881 tariff, French exports show, at first, a falling off, while English continue to increase. For the last five years the figures show that French imports are stagnant, while exports have only developed 18 per cent. relatively to the period 1876-1880, whereas English exports have developed 38 per cent. Thus events have not given the lie to the confidence of the Free Traders; can the same be said of Protectionist prophecies?