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Functions of the customs tariff in the Russian Empire in the 19th century


Speaking about tariff regulation of foreign economic activity in the Russian Empire in the XIX century, first of all, it is necessary to pay attention that two different departments were responsible for implementation of customs and tariff policy of the country. In a beginning of the century the customs tariff was prepared by the Department of manufactories and domestic trade which was till 1819 a part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. After reform of the Ministry of Finance and transfer of management to it drawing up the customs tariff of the Russian Empire also passed with all public finances to financial department. Besides administrative changes it is necessary to mention that since 1860th the increasing value in work of tariff committees was gained by practice of lobbying. The last word at acceptance of all tariffs remained behind the connected presence of the State Council. However at discussion the changes were made to already ready projects most often cosmetic whereas the main work went at the level of the ministries and Department of economy at the State Council. It follows from this that the most part of century the ministry to which duties first of all ensuring stability of a financial condition of the state belonged that substantially affected total version of the customs tariff of the Russian Empire was engaged in preparation of the customs tariff and implementation of tariff policy.

Formation of new tariffs often happened against the background of considerable changes not only in economic, but also other spheres of the state and world environment. And the hopes laid by authors by preparation for acceptance of the next tariff most often assumed under themselves any momentary need or were reflection of political economic views of the originator, not always corresponding to the valid requirements of national economy of the country.

The tariff policy of the Russian Empire in the 19th century had no uniform character. Let's allocate in it for convenience of consideration four main periods: the first — at the emperor Alexander I (1800-1821); the second — years of finding of E.F. Kankrin on a post of the Minister of Finance (1822-1844); the third — the period of some liberalization of the customs tariff (1844-1876); at last, the final period — the period of the strengthened industrial protectionism (1877-1899) 1.

In three of four of these periods it is possible to speak about prevalence of any certain trend in carrying out customs and tariff policy. The exception makes the first, Aleksandrovsky the period when the customs tariff was formed, first of all, under the influence of a foreign policy situation, and owing to its instability carried very contradictory ha -

rakter. Let's stop on identification of the changes happening to the customs tariff within these periods from the point of view of carried out by it functions.

As it was noted, in the first quarter of the 19th century the customs tariff served, mainly, as the foreign policy tool. Alexander, having succeeded the father, Pavel, practically at once lifted the ban on export of the Russian goods from ports, and then and for import of many English tovarov2. Further introduction of any given changes in a tariff almost completely becomes subordinated to a foreign policy of the country.

In 1805-1807 Russia was at war with France. War was ended by defeat. After signing of the Tilsit peace agreement the Russian Empire was forced to join continental blokade3.

In 1811 in a type of deterioration in the relations with France and inconveniences of a continental system the "Provision on neutral trade" in practice meaning resumption of trade relations with Great Britain and difficulty of access to the Russian market for the French goods was accepted.

In 1816 after defeat of Bonapartistsky France the government, following obligations of the Vienna Congress, accepts a new liberal tariff, and in three years, despite counteraction of industrial circles, even more liberal tariff of 1819

Tariffs 1816i1819gg. which were in essence not fritrederski-m had considerable negative impact on development of the industry not ready to the competition to the western goods. Under strong pressure the emperor Alexander was forced to refuse application of this tariff in 1822, having caused thereby great discontent from Austria and Prussia — allies on war with Napoleon — and having shown withdrawal from a foreign policy when forming the customs tariff of the country.

From the above it is obvious that before the second quarter of H1H-go of century its application in the foreign policy bargaining was the dominating function of the customs tariff. Patronizing function of a tariff and that allocates this interval of time, fiscal, remained in the shadow.

In 1822 the count Egor Frantsevich Kankrin was appointed the Minister of Finance of the Russian Empire. At him the customs tariff of the Russian state gained considerable development, having turned from a change of the foreign policy bargaining into the most important source of replenishment of treasury and also a key link of a system of protection, the arising Russian industry. The tariff of 1822 existed actually till 1850. The considerable number of the changes made to it for 1820-1840 did not break the principles underlain by a tariff of 1822. Thus, we will note that the tariff system during this period had uniform character. Practically all changes made to the customs tariff were dictated by fiscal reasons and had under themselves the common total goal: took away -

cheniye of revenues of the government budget. Rather often as justification of increase in the amount of the customs duty the patronizing motive was used. However in practice the most part of similar justifications was only a screen. Patronizing duty assessed the goods which were not made in the country and not having prospects in the organization of their domestic production.

Nevertheless, foreign policy influence on formation of the customs tariff was excluded not completely. So, it affected at approach of the next war with Turtsiyey4 in 1828 and also, since the middle of the 1840th when the government tried to coordinate the outlined tendency to liberalization of the customs tariff to improvement of relationship with the British Empire which had interests in a possibility of expansion of the import to Russia.

That is why, considering functions of the customs tariff in the second quarter of H1H-go of century, first of all, it is necessary to allocate fiscal, and political and patronizing to consider important, but minor.

The designated tendencies to decrease in tax burden after leaving in 1844 of Kankrin from a post of the Minister of Finance in resignation found reflection in tariffs 1850.1857 and 1868 of. The policy of decrease in the amount of the customs duties pursued three decades came to the end in 1877 with introduction of so-called "gold duty" 5. In special and general economic literature still there is no uniform assessment of efficiency of the liberalization of a tariff accepted in the middle of the XIX century. A framework of this research does not allow to analyze justification of this measure.

Considering the happening changes from positions of an object of research, we will note that liberalization did not bring any considerable changes in a functional role of the customs tariff. As it was also before reforms, the Ministry of Finance which was responsible for formation of a tariff first of all was interested in balance of the government budget. Numerous references to patronizing motivation of any given tariff change from the state mostly acted as a screen as domestic production of the majority of the imported goods in Russia did not exist as well as prospects for its fast introduction. Many especially patronized industries to the middle of the XIX century considerably got stronger. Meanwhile, continuing to help them, the state at a possibility of receiving high profits did not stimulate manufacturers to continuation of improvement of productions that in practice meant not guardianship any more, and the line on stagnation and backwardness.

The Ministry of Finance retained the fiscal interest even at decrease in the amount of duties on the account of increase in volume of import. The most part of decreases on tariffs of 1850,1857,1868 happened on departments of live supplies and finished products. At the same time the raw materials so necessary for development of manufacturing industry remained under considerable guardianship as his producers already from the middle of the 1850th had powerful

lobbies in tariff committee and as required put the strongest pressure upon making decisions on change of the amount of any given duty. The above circumstances indicate the nature of tariffs of the middle of the XIX century as purely fiscal. Let's note that in the third quarter of the 19th century the fiscal function of the customs tariff turned from the main into dominating.

A little defeat of Russia in the Crimean war changed a situation that demonstrated backwardness of the domestic industry. The government realized need of the fastest modernization of economy, including development of the heavy industry and construction of the railroads. A number of amendments to the customs tariff which really rendered noticeable effect for industry development was for this purpose adopted. First of all, we will allocate permission to duty-free import to the country of metals for needs of the heavy industry.

In 1876 the foreign policy situation once again put the Russian Empire on a war side with Turkey. Preparation for war demanded significant growth in expenses, and the Ministry of Finance resorted to the help of the customs tariff again. In 1876 the law according to which customs fees had to be paid by exclusively gold rubles that at a difference of courses of that time between gold and paper ruble meant increase in customs income by 48% Was issued. Since this measure, the Russian Empire entered the period of accumulation of the customs oppression which lasted before the termination stoletiya6.

For the 1880th years the Ministry of Finance repeatedly addressed the customs tariff as means of permission of a chronic problem of budget deficit. Moreover, the long active balance of trade balance became one of indispensable conditions of financial reform as cornerstone of all financial policy of the Russian state in the last quarter of the XIX century. As a result the fiskalizm still remained the dominating line inherent in the domestic customs tariff in the 1880th years. At the same time, since the middle of 1880, the increasing attention receives application of the customs tariff in the patronizing purposes. The customs tariff along with other means of the state support of industrial development was widely used, crowned in 1891 "a mendeleevsky tariff" which, according to developers, has to was become is exemplary protectionist.

Despite the considerable efforts made by developers, a tariff of 1891 also kept shortcomings of the predecessors: considerable fiscal component and tradition of rendering protection nonexistent or unpromising branches of the industry.

Since 1893, the customs policy returned to the sphere of foreign policy tools. The leading European powers, including the Russian Empire during this period signed among themselves a number of trade agreements. The greatest problem caused the contract of Russia with the German impe-

yard. Despite the huge efforts made by domestic diplomats and politicians, the parties did not manage to reach a compromise. And in 1893-1894 "trade war" between Russia and Germany began. Finally Russia could not achieve for itself the "parity" trade agreement and was forced to make big concessions to the German empire, than received. Nevertheless, in events of 1893-1894 the Russian Empire several times resorted to the customs tariff as means of pressure upon the German side, and separate concessions were made by Germany because of fear of final loss of the Russian market.

The refusal of tariff autonomy left beyond the Russian Empire a possibility of a certain maneuver by means of the so-called double tariff when rates of conventional agreements were base only for participants of these agreements, and for the other states the tariff accepted in 1891 continued to work

Thus, in the last quarter of the XIX century the fiscal function In the Russian Empire progressed slightly, conceding to patronizing and foreign policy functions in a number of the industries or in connection with certain events, but reserving a dominant position in general.

1 Since 1893, there was a refusal of the tariff autonomy of Russia which was followed by considerable reduction of duty oppression.
2 Besides the foreign policy moment this measure allowed to reduce import, to stimulate domestic production and also to lift a course of paper money which by 1800 reached a point in 64 silver kopeks for paper ruble.
3 PSZ. T. XXX. No. 23094.
4 Russo-Turkish war of 1828-1829
5 PSZ. SPb., 1878. SOBR. 2. T.Y. No. 56573, 56574.
6 However actually after refusal of tariff autonomy the customs tariff of Russia at trade with the main partners was lower, than a tariff of 1891
Bonnie Wallace
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