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Efficiency of transformations of the customs tariff in the Russian Empire in the last quarter of the 19th century


The customs and tariff policy of the Russian Empire in the last quarter of the XIX century is "rather not bad" the studied episode in the history of the customs tariff of our country. Works of many domestic and foreign issledovateley1 are devoted to its analysis. Nevertheless, in our opinion, in this area there are "white spots". For example, having detailed descriptions of all tariff transformations of the studied era, there is no accurate assessment of their efficiency, and, therefore, there is also no answer to a question of expediency of use of historical experience when forming modern customs tariffs. The answer to this question is of interest to modern practice of tariff regulation.

The policy of the Russian Empire of the last quarter of the 19th century in the field of customs and tariff regulation was within the competence of the Ministry of Finance, the tariff committee which more precisely is specially formed at it involving the trade, exchange, industrial and other interested organizations in the activity. Nevertheless final vynese-

ny the project of a new tariff action for consideration of the State Council carried out financial department that considerably defined the nature of all tariff changes.

The Russian Empire of the end of the 19th century which passed through heavy reforms of the 1860th thanks to what successfully followed a way of capitalist development with all features, characteristic of it, it was interested in development of the heavy industry. For this purpose theorists-protectionists suggested to primenenit the customs tariff. On this moment many researchers place particular emphasis, coordinating efficiency of the customs tariff to its influence on industrial development of the country. Meanwhile a tariff, being the tool of the Ministry of Finance, it was used at that moment much more widely, than especially protective support of the industry. Protectionism was rather a screen for realization of other, less popular purposes — establishments of active balance of trade balance, preparation for the monetary reform. High duties the government expected to reduce import volume, and due to increase in export to pay off on a huge external debt and to create a considerable reserve of metal currency — a necessary condition of the forthcoming monetary reform. For tariff changes there was also a political background — war with Turkey (1877), an atakzha the customs conflict with Germany (beginning of the 1890th).

It is quite obvious that become the tool for achievement of so many (sometimes mutually excluding) the purposes the tariff policy of Russia represented the most important component of economic life of the state. The success of its realization was extremely important for society.

To complete the picture we will stop on the main tariff measures of the last quarter of the XIX century. After quarter-century domination of the liberal ideas the government in 1876 accepted a course towards toughening of tariff policy by acceptance so-called gold poshliny2. This measure automatically raised all rates of the existing tariff by 1.48 times in view of inequality of a rate of gold and credit ruble. Further throughout the end of the 1870th - the 1880th years the government repeatedly increased a rate of a tariff for many groups of goods. Being incapable at that time to undertake full tariff reform, the Ministry of Finance resorted to increase in duties every time when it had a need for the reasons of both protective, and fiscal character. Changes had chaotic character that, finally, did their value doubtful. In 1891 the general tariff answering, according to a protectionist part of society, to the interests of the national industry, in fact only fixed all increases in a tariff which are carried out in the 1880th years, and for many articles much the strengthened tariff oppression was accepted. It existed not for long as in 1893 the Russian Empire refused tariff autonomy, having signed the trade agreement with the French Republic, and then some more similar agreements with other shsudar-

stvo. Thus, the operating general tariff became a peculiar screen, and working rates of duties were much lower designated by a tariff.

We will use two methods of assessment of efficiency of tariffs. The first method (conditionally "direct") is based on use of customs statistics. It is directly dynamics of changes of customs income and data of trade balance. (Conditionally "indirect") we will understand impact which is had by change of the customs tariff on the industrial growth of the country as other method. Certainly, precisely it is impossible to estimate the value of similar influence. However on the basis of statistical data it is possible to establish interrelation of dynamics of development of industries with introduction of any given customs tariff and on the basis of these data to draw a conclusion on efficiency of a concrete tariff or tariff policy throughout a certain interval of time.

But before we will make the small reservation. The Russian industrial statistics of the studied era represents very unreliable field of knowledge. Many researchers-economisty3 pointed to it. In our research statistical data from the monograph by M.N. Soboleva4 as the most exact, in our opinion, in the field of customs statistics were used.

So, orientation to reduction of import and maintenance of active balance of the foreign trade balance were the main directions of foreign trade policy of the Russian Empire of the last quarter of the XIX century. The noticeable part was assigned to promotion of national production. Addressing the methodology offered above, we will stop on direct results of application customs tariffs the period of 1875-1900 then we will address dynamics of industrial growth.

In the last quarter of the 19th century the customs income steadily increased (tab. I) 5. If in the middle of the 1870th it exceeded 80 million rubles in shd, to a toknachal 1890-huzhesostavlyal over 120 mlnrub. only a little, that is increased during this time approximately by 50%. K1900 of customs income exceeded over 200 million rubles in god6, i.e. in a decade grew still practically twice. The share of customs income in the total amount of tax revenues during the studied period also constantly grew. In 1875 it made 15%, and in the 1890th did not fall lower than 25%, having reached in 1898 a point 30% (fig. 1.).

The provided data demonstrate that customs income during the studied period of time turned into the most important source of state revenues. The government by means of a tariff resolved issues of state budget deficit. Building of a customs share in treasury played in a certain measure a negative role as, having made sure of convenience of customs finance, the government used a tariff in fiscal interests even then when it contradicted the interests of industrial development of the country.

Table 1

Dynamics of customs income of the Russian Empire in 1876-1891, million rubles

Years Income Years Income

1876 85.447 1884 99.654
1877 48.775 1885 98.61
1878 88.53 1886 108.417
1879 94.772 1887 98.308
1880 104.924 1888 107.028
1881 85.572 1889 121.934
1882 98.587 1890 126.462
1883 101.896 1891 122.683

Fig. 1. Dynamics of receipt of customs income of the Russian Empire and its share in the total amount of income from direct and indirect taxes

Data of trade balance allow to judge tariff policy of the last quarter of the 19th century as very successful. But considerable improvement of trade balance was not the result of import reduction on which first of all authors of tariff reform, and in connection with significant increase in the Russian export counted (tab. 27, fig. 2).

Table 2

Trade balance of the Russian Empire in 1870-1897, million rubles

Years Import Export With and. 11" to Years Import Export Balance

1870 335.9 360 24.1 1884 536.9 587.9 51
1871 368.5 369.3 0.8 1885 435.4 537.9 102.5
1872 435.2 327 -108.2 1886 426.5 484.1 57.6
1873 443 364.4 -78.6 1887 399.6 617.3 217.7
1874 471.4 431.8 -39.6 1888 386.1 784 397.9
1875 531 381.9 -149.1 1889 432 750.9 318.9
1876 477.6 400.7 -76.9 1890 406.6 692.2 285.6
1877 321 527.2 206.2 1891 371.6 707.4 335.8
1878 595.6 618.2 22.6 1892 399.5 475.6 76.1
1879 587.7 627.8 40.1 1893 449.6 599.2 149.6
1880 622.8 498.7 -124.1 1894 553.6 668.7 115.1
1881 517.7 506.4 -11.3 1895 526.2 689.1 162.9
1882 566.8 617.8 51 1896 585.5 688.6 103.1
1883 562.2 640.3 78.1 1897 560 729.7 169.7

Average value of indicators of trade balance on the periods

1870-1876 437.5 376.4 -61.1 1883-1891 424.3 645.2 220.9
1877-1882 539.1 576.6 37.5 1892-1897 512.4 641.8 129.4
900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 -And L- ♦ Export - I-import

G&" & #34; &- lines on graphics

at- from left to right: war with Turkey, - gold duty,

increases tariff tariff of 1891,

1870 1871 1872 1873 1874 187 5 1 1877 1878 1879 1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 188 6 1887 1888 1889 1Ya9P 1891 1892 autonomies. GO ^ 1L to О") 0"1 О") 0"1 00 oo 00 00 00

Fig. 2. Trade balance of the Russian Empire in 1870-1897, million rubles

It is obvious that in since the middle of the 1880th years, the government managed to achieve steady excess of export over import. In spite of the fact that in many respects success of this program was promoted by the favorable environment of the world markets which provided considerable demand for the Russian produk-

you, were succeeded to keep the volume of import to the country under control by means of high tariff barriers thanks to what Witte in the middle of the 1890th managed to undertake financial reform.

Thus, having applied a direct method of assessment, it is possible to recognize tamo-zhenno-tariff policy of the last quarter of the 19th century as very effective.

Meanwhile the indirect method constructed on assessment of the impact of tariffs for economic growth in the country gives a bit different picture. For descriptive reasons we will compare growth rates of 27 leading branches of economy of the Russian Empire of the studied period (1876-1897) to the previous period (1850-1875). The tariff policy during both periods pursued the similar aims: fiskalizm and development of the national industry. However methods of achievement of these purposes were diametrically antiput. The tariff policy of the 1850-70th assumed increase in customs income due to increase in import to the country and also moderate protection the strategic industries. The size of rates of a tariff throughout 1850-70-hgg. constantly decreased. The peak of this policy fell on a tariff of 1868 then the turn towards strengthening of tariff oppression began. Thus, having statistical data on branch growth zaperiod 1850-1900, it is possible to compare them and to receive the answer to a question: what fruits of the high customs tariff of the last quarter of the XIX century.

Using the statistical data provided in monograph Soboleva8, we will make the following statistical ranks (tab. 3).

Table 3

Comparison of rates of gain of the branches of the Russian industry in the third and fourth quarters of the XIX century, %

Industry the 3rd quarter the 4th quarter Difference

Cotton-spinning 6.6 8.2 1.6

Bumagotkatsky 14.8 10.5 -4.3

Wool-spinning 26.1 9.6 -16.5

Sherstetkatsky 7.4 1.8 -5.6

Cloth 5.3 1.8 -3.5

Stuffed and tinctorial 0.6 9 8.4

Silk-weaving and tape 10.8 6.5 -4.3

Tanning 7.5 2.7 -4.8

Paper stationery 6.7 8.9 2.2

Wallpaper 6 11 5

Rubber 196 17.6 -178.4

Stearin 21.7 2.1 -19.6

oil milling 44.9 227 182.1

Chemical and colourful 5.6 13.6 8

Glass and crystal 2.8 4.5 1.7

Faience and porcelain 9.3 12.4 3.1

Machine-building 376 7 -369

Iron 22.4 49 26.6

Copper-bronze 13.3 11.8 -1.5

Cosmetic 11.7 4 -7.7

Sugar 101 9.3 -91.7

Coal 48.7 23.4 -25.3

Cast iron smelting 3.4 14.9 11.5

Iron smelting 2.9 3.4 0.5

Steel smelting 41.5 304.5 263

Production rail 57.9 7.5 -50.4

Copper smelting -1.5 3.7 5.2

Despite the industrial upsurge continuing all last quarter of the XIX century, rates of annual gain on most the industries considerably decreased, including in mechanical engineering, production of coal, smelting a rail, bumagotkatsky and stearin productions. These industries used special protection of the state, however their rates of gain in the last quarter of century fell. Moreover, the copper industry in many respects because of inept protection fell into decay. Nevertheless there were examples of successful application of the customs tariff for strengthening of the internal industry in Russia. First of all we will distinguish oil trade and production of steel from them. In general, as statistical data testify, strengthening of tariff oppression gave rather negative effect, having reduced the rate of industrial growth in the country.

1 We will distinguish from the most considerable works: M.N. Sobolev. Customs policy of Russia in the second half of the 19th century; V. Vitchevsky. Trade, customs and industrial policy of Russia since the time of Peter the Great up to now; P.H. Shvanebakh. Our podatny business.
2 PSZ. SPb., 1878. SOBR. 2. T. LI. No. 56573, 56574.
3 V. Vitchevsky. Trade, customs and industrial policy of Russia since the time of Peter the Great up to now Page 246; Tougan-Baranovsky. Russian factory. SPb, 1898. Page 428; In one of works the prominent economist Vladimir Ilyin suggested to consider all industrial statistics of that time invalid in view of incorrect methodology of its maintaining and also lack of fair data.
4 M.N. Sobolev. Decree. soch.
5 M.N. Sobolev. Decree. soch. Page 696.
6 Data on Vitchevsky.
7 M.N. Sobolev. Customs policy of Russia in the second half of the 19th century. Tomsk, 1910. Page 423, 490.
8 M.N. Sobolev. Customs policy of Russia in the second half of the 19th century. Tomsk, 1910. Page 309, 310, 794, 795.
Gerald Buck Donald
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