- Project Runeberg -  A practical guide for Russian consular officers and all persons having relations with Russia /

(1916) Author: Alfons Heyking - Tema: Russia
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basin by a system of canals, and thus enabled the enormous
agricultural produce of that fertile and rich district to be brought to the

The Empress Catherine II. also gave attention to the development
of Russian foreign trade. This export trade was of great importance
to Russia, because at that time Western Europe was in urgent want
of all kinds of agricultural produce. The benefit of this to Russia
grew yearly. An import trade in all kinds of manufactured articles
also arose, as home industry in Russia was, up to that time, not only
undeveloped, but almost non-existent.

As the industrial life of the country thus began to develop the
necessity of protecting the young growing national industry was fully
recognised by tariffs of a protective character.

In 1819 there was issued the first Russian Customs Tariff, which
was, in form, protectionist from the beginning. This tariff
established low customs duties and did not in any way lessen the import
of foreign goods, which, in its turn, had a bad influence on the creation
of independent national industries. In consequence, a system of
very severe protection was introduced in 1822, partly by greatly
raising the duties, and partly by prohibiting altogether the
importation of certain goods, viz. : refined sugar, tea, cotton fabrics, flax,
copper articles, &c. This protective tariff continued in force for
twenty years, undergoing some substantial modifications.

In 1841 a fresh tariff was instituted of a more elaborate character.
In 1845 the rigid protection of the home industries began to give
way and in 1850 a new tariff was established, the chief feature of
which was the lessening of the duties. In 1857 another tariff lessened
the duties still more. This process of reducing duties continued till
1868, when a tariff was introduced which imposed not only very low
duties, but allowed the free importation of a great number of articles.
This did not fail to have a bad influence on home industries, and in
1871, that is three years after the tariff was introduced, the balance
of Russian exports and imports was to the disadvantage of the country.
For this reason in 1878 it was considered necessary to protect Russian
industries, which were of comparatively recent creation and could
not in any way compete by themselves with the industries of Western
Europe, which had existed for centuries. In 1877 the duties were
raised by 50 per cent. ; in 1881 they were again raised 10 per cent.,
except the duty on salt ; in 1882 many articles that had hitherto
been imported free of duty were taxed. In 1885 there was a further
rise of 20 per cent., and in 1887 the duty on cast-iron and metals was
much increased. In 1890 the duties were raised again by 20 per cent.

The alterations that had been introduced from 1877 to 1890
necessitated a revision so as to make a tariff that could be easily
worked, and thus the tariff which is now in force was confirmed by
the Czar Alexander III. in 1891.

In 1903 a New General Customs Tariff for the European frontier
of Russia was confirmed by His Majesty. This tariff had been
prepared by the Russian Government in view of the approaching
termination of commercial treaties then existing between Russia
and other Powers, and the duties contained therein are liable to
modification as the result of negotiations for fresh commercial treaties.

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