Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER VI: AMERICAN TRADE - The Comedy of Protection
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CHAPTER VI: AMERICAN TRADE - Yves Guyot, The Comedy of Protection 
The Comedy of Protection, trans. M.A. Hamilton (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1906).
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Export of manufactures—Share to Europe—Share to France—Development of French imports in spite of the McKinley Tariff—Contradictory dangers—High and low wages—Share of export in industry.
American foreign trade has considerably developed. Its exports not only include food and raw materials, e.g., cotton, they also show a great increase in manufactured articles.
The following are the ten articles which form 80 per cent. of the exports of manufactured goods:—
Turning to the share of Europe in United States trade, we find that she supplies 50 per cent. of their imports:—
and Europe takes nearly three-fourths of the United States exports.
Of manufactured goods she takes less, 40 per cent., or 206,800,000, out of 396,400,000 dollars’ worth; while South America only takes 6 or 7 per cent.
The share of France is shown by the Customs of the United States:—
When imports and exports are taken together—and their proportion is very nearly equal—France stands third among the nations trading with the United States. The McKinley Tariff did not succeed in checking French imports; they rose 25 per cent. between 1896-7, when they stood at 67,530,000 dollars, and 1902-04, when they were 84,680,000; and in spite of the Méline Tariff the exportation of American manufactures to France rose from 6,049,000 dollars in 1892 to 26,775,000 dollars in 1900, and to 16,786,000 in 1903.
These figures prove that Customs tariffs do not prevent people buying the things they need from one another; they pay more for them, that is all, and therefore must either buy less at home or less abroad, or save less. Some continental Protectionists are quite ready to sell to the States as long as they buy nothing from them; they really deplore Columbus’ discovery of America. All the same, the annual exportation thither of £16,666,000 worth of French goods is by no means a matter of indifference to many Frenchmen, representing as it does nearly one-eighth of our total exports. Only, as soon as America sends us nearly as much in return, they cry out about the American Peril and the Yellow Peril! The Yellow Peril: that means the invasion of Europe by Chinese and Japanese goods, imminent because labour is so cheap in China and Japan—and yet the same people talk about the American Peril, although certainly it cannot be the cheapness of American labour that encourages their exports, since wages there are 100, 200, and 300 per cent. higher than those of European countries. If the foundation for the dread of the Yellow Peril is the cheapness of labour, there is no American Peril; if, in spite of the high rate of wages, the American Peril does really exist, there is no ground in the lowness of wages for apprehending the Yellow Peril.
It is worth while to find out the proportion of the export of manufactured products relatively to the whole production of the United States. 9,858 million dollars of capital is engaged in industry, producing 13,050 million dollars’ worth of goods per annum. 5,064 millions of this capital are in the hands of eighteen industries; they are, therefore, the most important. They may be divided into three groups—1
A. Internal industries: gas, electric light, printing, bricklaying, railway carriage building, &c. This group represents a capital of 1,651 million dollars, or 33 per cent. of the whole.
B. Industries exporting food and raw materials: timber, pressed meat, flour, &c. This group represents 1,159 million dollars, or 23 per cent.
C. Industries whose products can compete with the manufacture of other countries: e.g., steel and iron, textiles, cotton and woollens, chemical products, leathers and shoes, agricultural implements and machinery, carriages and carts. This group represents a capital of 2,252 million dollars, or 44 per cent.
Taking now the annual value of these products—
Let us put ourselves in the place of the manufacturers who evoke the American Peril, and compare the value of the output and exports of the third group (in million dollars)—
That is to say, this industrial group produces primarily for home consumption; its exports are only 8 to 9 per cent. of its output, and they are forcibly restricted by the rise in selling price which follows from the Customs duties.
W. R. Lawson, “American Industrial Problems.”