- Project Runeberg -  Finland : its public and private economy /
168

(1902) [MARC] Author: Niels Christian Frederiksen
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less than most of the other departments of public life.
In speaking of this question, we must first of all recall
the peculiar position of this tax in the Finnish
constitution. Here the system still prevails which from
1772 to 1809 was found in Sweden, by which the
monarch could, without the co-operation of the
Estates, regulate the customs tariff. It is probable
that, if the Estates had had the same influence here
as in other matters, they would have introduced the
more liberal principles then prevailing. It must,
however, be acknowledged that the Government, in the
tariff of 1869, the main points of which are still in
existence, has undertaken a comparatively considerable
reform. The tariff certainly gives wide protection
to most of the manufactured articles, but imposes little
or no duty on the raw material which is so important
for the manufacturing and other industries, or on
articles which are necessaries of life. Commerce also
progressed considerably after the reduction of this
tariff. From a financial point of view nothing now
hinders the entire abolition of tariff protection;
since in Finland, as elsewhere, only duties which are
not essentially protective, such as those on sugar,
coffee, tea, tobacco, alcoholic drinks, together with the
excise duties on brännvin and beer, produce large
amounts. The greatest difficulty in this respect is
caused by the relations of Finland with Russia.
Certain diminutions of the Finnish import duty would
occasion new restrictions in the commerce with Russia.
This certainly ought not to decide a question which is
of so vital an importance to the whole development
of the country.

A treaty made between Russia and Spain in 1888,
in which Finland shared, was a step in the direction of
greater liberty. Spain obtained facilities in Finland

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