Menu JTA Search

Trade Figures Show U.S. Remains Berlin’s Ally

Boycotted by virtually the entire world, suffering from a lapse of her 1933 trade surplus 37 percent below that of 1932, and embarrassed by a 16 percent decrease of her exports during 1933 while world exports increased about one percent, Germany finds in the United State a true friend insofar as commercal relations are concerned.

From trade figures it is glaringly apparent tht the American boycott of German goods has failed dismally thus far. Together with Italy, and a few South American states, the United States stands as one of the few countries of the world whose imports of German merchandise increased during Hitler’s term in office.

In October, 1933, Germany exported to the United States $7,666,577 worth of merchandise, an increase of more than a half-million dollars over the figure for Octobe, 1932. During the ten months of 1933 ending in October, the United States imported goods from Germany aggregating $64,685,094, as compared with the lesser figure of $62,439,351 during the first ten months of 1932.

IMPORT OF 2 NOVEMBERS

In November, 1933, the United States continued to heighten this year’s imports from Germany over those of 1932 by importing $6,603,884 of German merchandise. In November, 1932, the United States imported only $6,376,537 worth of German goods.

The figures fail to show any discrimination whatsoever against German merchandise. The fact that American imports from Germany gained during October can not be explained by a reciprocal rise in German purchases from this country during that month. One the contrary, American exports ot Germany during October declined below those in 1932. They declined from $110,545,952 in October 1932 to $109,787,627 in October, 1933. Exports to Germany, however, rose during the first ten months of 1933 to $17,821,296, as compared with $15,754,264 during the first ten months of the previous year.

The fact remains that the United States continues to patronize Hiterized Germany without either favorable or unfacorable distinction. The rise in America’s trade with the Third Reich is in almost exact proportion to the world in general. During th ten months ending October, 1933, the United States imported from all the world $1,187,495,593 and exported to all the world $1,298,967,475 in merchandies. These figures denote an icrease in imports and export decrease from those of the first ten months of 1932 which were, respectively, $1,121,218,744 and $1,340,568,617.

GERMAN IMPORTS RISE

Of particular interest is the fact that the American boycott of German goods has been inefective only since August of 1933. Prior to that month, American imorts of German goods had fallen below those for 1932. On all sides trade returns for the next few months were eagerly anticipated as irrevocable evidence of the tightening of the boycott. Trade returns for September, October, and November have been issued, and they reveal that the boycott of the early part of the year has been more than compenstaed for in gradual rise of Ameican imports from Germany.

By August, 1933, the United States had imported from Germany merchandise totalling $48,512,742, which was approximately $21,000 more than was imported during the same period in 1932. In the month of August, however, the United States imported $8,702,376 in merchandise as compared with $5,697,851 during August, 1932.

From that tiime on American imports mounted until in October they had execeded substantially the imports for the first ten months in 1932. In November they rose to $71,290,495 or almost three million dollarrs over the figure for the first evleven months of 1932.

U.S. STANDS OUT

Together with Italy as almost the only European country failin to cut exports from Germany drastically during the last year, the United States stads out asa one of the few countries that has not responded commercially to Hitler’s internal and foreign policies.

SECOND LARGEST CUSTOMER

With the sole exception of the United Kingdom, which imported more than twice as much American merchandise as Germany did during 1933, Germany is by far the most important European consumer of American goods. France is America’s third best European customer with purchases of $95,387,904 worth of merchandise during the first ten months of 1933 and Italy is third with $48,578,170. Japan in the East purchased $108,119,414 and Canada $169,947,334 during this period.

Germany bought during the first ten months of 1933 almost twice as much as she sold to the United States. Her imports from this country aggregated $64,685,094, while the United Kingdom purchased $93,707,978. The United States entertains a more favorable trade balance with Germany than with any other great trading nation.

While the maintenance of normal trade relations with Germany despite the energetic action of boycott committees and faithful compliance with the boycott by milions of Americans, may be explained in part by recent abnormalitions of both countries, this explanation can by no means indicate that the boycott of German goods in the United States is appreciably successful. America’s continued purchase of German goods is remarkably with the decided decline of German imports to European and Asiatic countries, but also when compared to the decline of German imports into Canada, a neighring country.

IMPORTED MORE IN DOLLARS

During the entire year of, 1933 Canada imported from Germany approximately 25,000,000 reichsmarks in German goods as contrasted with 33,300,000 in 1932. The United States imported approximately 247,000,000 reichsmarks in German goods during 1933 and 281,000,000 in 1931. In terms of dollars the United States imported more last year than in 1932.

While German’s import of goods from the world market declined nine percent during 1933, she continued to buy as unsual from the United States. This may be explained by the fact that the American dollar abroad now is worth only sixty cents. It is true that the dollar was not so chaep during the entire twelve months of 1933, but its depreciation during the latter half of the year was sufficient to attract the custom of many countries, Germany incluede.

“BLOCKED MARKS’ AID

A somewhat similar condition exists regarding the German reichsmark. It can now he purchased value through the medium medium of “blocked marks.” The German Government at present has at least sixdiferent kinds of bloked marks in circulation. In Germany they are exchanged for the ordinary mark but abroad they may be bought at abroad at a fraction of its nomian as low as fifty-five percent of their nominal value.

Hence, the bloked marks have to some extent paralleled the depreciation of the American dollar. Despite the decline of the value of their dollars, American traders in some instances now find they can purchase more in Germany with their depreciated American dollars than they could have done with the gold dollar of one year ago.

That American dealers are taking advantage of bloked marks to purchase heavily from Germany, despite their public assertions of adhering to the anti-German boycott, is well known to a few in the confidence of these traders. Among them are included a number of Jewish executives of large American conerns. At leat one, who now asserts his purchases from Germany are negligible, continues to maintain a purchasing office in Berlin.

It is likewise reported, although no definite information has been given the writer, that many importers have their goods from Germany trans-shipped from other countries to evade being classed as opponents of the boycott.

Of this the writer is certain: that a number of retail dealers in the United States have ordered tremendous quantities of German wares well in advance; that before they announced their intentio of boycotting German goods they stocked their warehouses with merchandise from Germany; that they placed orders for future import, for enough merchandise to keep their shelves well-stocked throughout the duration of an ordiary boycott; and that many dealers have no intention of boycotting Germany in securing their most essetial wares, in most cases because to purchase from other countries would entail higher costs; and that large quantities of German goods are purchased here through the medium of German importers.

One can not point an accusing finger at any one merchant in New York for the above infractions without first examining the positions of others. In fac, it may be said, there is not a large retail house in the city that does not have large quantities of German merchandise on display. Some are more flagrant violators of the impression prevails among is general they are all in the same boat and by virtue of this generality of sin against their asserted attiude toward Germany none is to blame more than the other. “If Jones buys cheap goods from Germany, and I pay more for the same goods from Japan, I am a sap and I deserve the ruin that my folly brigns,” says Smith. And Jones says the same of Smith and so on down the line.

An investigation, undertaken by the writer, of a score of leading department stores in New York revealed that nowher is the boycott being rigidly enforced. All handle German merchanidise. All of them presented German goods to the writer, who posed as a customer, but unles the salesclerks were asked the coutry origin, the identity of the material was not divulged.

When salespeople were draw into conversation regarding the boycott they indicated that buyers were becoming less interested in it and that there is less discrimination against German goods now than there was three months ago. They also indicated that the stores had shown no intention of closing out certain German lines, particularly in chinaware, women’s gloves, cameras, fullfashioned hosiery, and a few other items. These articles they described as being superior to any other lines of domestic make or from other countries.

Conversations with and communcations from department store executives indicate that they have no intention of closing out “essential” German lines, from which they have always derived the major part of their profit in foreign manufactures. They assert that their orders for German goods have dwindled to small amounts, but a cursory survey of their shelvews reveals the existence of great supplies of German goods.

The retailers of New York have refused to countermand orders for the delivery of goods from Germany in the future. They give as their reason for this failure, upon which the success of the boycott apparently depends, the honor of their establishments. “Our word is our bond. We do not make a practice of withdrawing orders after they have been given,” they say. And yet, it is well known that when, on the normal course of events a buyer is threatened with a loss of profit on the delivery of certain orders of merchandise, he wastes little time in countermanding them. If any conclusion is to be drawn from this paragraph, it is this: That the ‘honorable’ department stores are more influenced by profit than they are by their moral convictions.

NEXT STORY