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Constantza


Import and export taxes    EN

Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN

After 1878 Dobrudja was included in the customs system of Romania, at that moment organised on the basis of the customs law of 1874, which regulated all aspects related to customs policy: taxes, prohibitions, surveillance, penalties etc. It remained in use, with slight alterations, until 1906 [1]. Soon after, a new customs tariff was agreed upon that also had the political intention of stating the customs autonomy of Romania (until 1877 a vassal state). It replaced the ad valorem system with the taxation per physical unit (weight or number) and only exceptionally ad valorem. The tariff had the first roots for encouraging the national industry, so taxes varied between four and six percent for the undeveloped industrial branches, 10–20 percent for several protected goods and 7.5–15 percent for the rest. However, this general tariff was not applied, as in June 1875 Romania signed a commercial convention with Austria–Hungary, which forced her to conclude similar agreements with most of her commercial partners (Russia – 1876, Germany – 1877, Switzerland, Greece, Italy – 1878, Great Britain, Belgium – 1880, the Netherlands and the USA – 1881). In exchange for the low taxation of Romanian grain and cattle that were exported to Austria–Hungary (and to other countries), Romania accepted to decrease import rates, so that the country continued to be flooded by the cheap products manufactured in industrialised countries. The tariff was modified in 1878, when the conventional tariff included 711 articles, grouped into 24 categories. The taxation was done by the weight, measurement unit and number of these products [2].

In 1886 independent Romania led by a liberal cabinet imposed a new customs tariff that abolished former privileges and was meant to encourage the national industry. The customs inventory included 590 articles, 22 of them taxed with a rate varying between 50–180 percent, 31 between 40–50 percent, 43 between 30–40 percent, 113 between 20–30 percent, 53 between 10–20 percent, 107 goods under ten percent, and 121 exempted. This tariff was the trigger of a customs war with Austria–Hungary and other European powers, an economic conflict that lasted until 1891. A new tariff was introduced in that year by the conservative government, when the new inventory contained 576 articles and a significant reduction of taxes: only 81 products were taxed with more than 20 percent (11 of them with taxes between 50–70 percent, and 15 between 40–50 percent). On the basis of this new tariff there were concluded commercial conventions with Great Britain and Italy – 1892, France, Switzerland, Germany – 1893, Austria–Hungary, Belgium – 1894, the Netherlands – 1899, Greece – 1901, Turkey – 1894 [3].

A new law for the organisation of Romanian customs was imposed in 1904, followed by a new tariff (valid since 1906), more protective for the emerging Romanian national industry. The average taxes were higher than in the previous tariff (10–25 percent), with the special taxation of raw materials and products that could be manufactured in Romania [4].

The customs office in Constanţa was founded on the basis of the Regulation for the organisation of the financial services in Dobrudja (17 November 1878). The institution was housed in a proper building only after the construction of the new harbour. The local office cashed the following types of taxes [5]:

Customs dues, variable, according to the Romanian law. In 1904, in relation to the structure of Constanţa’s foreign trade, most customs dues were paid on imported cargo, the average being 2.23 lei for 100 kilos of goods. The tax of ½ % was paid on goods traded through all Romanian ports. It was introduced at the Danube in 1863 and extended to the maritime Black Sea ports in 1896. It was greatly criticised by local traders, who considered that it favoured land trade, so that the tax was diminished in 1904 for a series of goods such as flour, tobacco, oil etc. The wharfage tax was imposed in 1899. It was a fixed right of 0.20 lei for every ton of capacity of ships. The tax for the communal fund was introduced in 1903, and the tax of stowage was paid for the use of the magazines in the harbour. The tax for the location of the platform was introduced in 1901 by the Direction for the Construction of the Harbour [6].

The regulation for the perception of harbour taxes at Constanţa was introduced in July 1910 and modified in the following period. According to it, ships paid taxes according to their tonnage: ships of 10–500 tons paid 0.22 lei / ton; 501–1,000 tons 0.40 lei / ton; 1,001–1,500 tons 0.55 lei / ton; 1,501–3,000 and more 0.65 lei / ton. Taxes were reduced according to the quantities of goods loaded or unloaded in the harbour. There also were taxes for piloting and salvaging, with partial or total exemption for the ships of the Romanian Maritime Service. The exploitation of the oil station and of the two silos built in the new harbour also brought important incomes to the port. The annual rent for the oil tanks was 8,000 lei for benzene and its derivatives and 13,500 for residue oil. There were also imposed taxes of unloading, pumping, cleaning and washing the tanks [7].

Table 2.3.4_1

The Incomes of the Customs Office (1889–1903) [8]

Year

Incomes (lei)

Average tax for a % kilogrames (lei)

1889

383413

2.12

1890

397782

3.54

1891

417449

2.10

1892

455853

2.58

1893

521862

3.07

1894

626021

3.49

1895

493500

1.79

1896

1454132

2.70

1897

1405371

1.52

1898

1308597

1.06

1899

1000587

0.69

1900

683405

1.12

1901

940741

0.85

1902

1314259

2.35

1903

1256059

2.23

Table 2.3.4_2

The Incomes of the Constanţa Harbour (1909–1915) [9]

Year

Incomes (lei)

Expenses

(lei)

1909

1224828

1075757

1910

2931574

1549974

1911

3529203

1651318

1912

2943651

1740839

1913

3223416

1655121

1914

1270834

1496245

1915

1006461

1478178

 


[1]Enciclopedia României, vol. I, Statul (Bucharest: Imprimeriile Naţionale, 1936), 633.

[2] Nicolae Sută, Gabriela Drăgan, Maria Mureșan, Sultana Sută–Selejan, Istoria comerţului exterior şi a politicii comerciale româneşti (Bucharest: Editura Eficient, 1998), 94–99.

[3]Ibid., 100–108.

[4] Emil Costinescu, Încurajarea industriei naţionale (Bucharest: Imprimeriile Independenţa, 1912), 3.

[5] C. Christodorescu, Portul Constanţa. Mişcare comercială şi maritimă în anul 1903 (Constanţa: Tipografia Ovidiu, 1905), 71–72.

[6]Ibid., 72–89.

[7] Valentin Ciorbea, Portul Constanţa de la antichitate la mileniul III (Constanţa: Europolis, 1994), 111.

[8] Christodorescu, Portul, 73.

[9] D.S.P.M., “Evoluţia portului Constanţa”, in vol. 1878–1928. Dobrogea. Cincizeci de ani de vieaţă românească (Constanţa: Cultura Naţională, 1928), 478.


References

Archival sources:

Serviciul Judeţean Constanţa al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Constanţa Branch), Primăria municipiului Constanţa (The Municipality of Constanţa), files starting with 1878.

Bibliography:

Christodorescu, C., Portul Constanţa. Mişcare comercială şi maritimă în anul 1903 [The Port of Constanţa. Its Commercial and Maritime Movement in 1903] (Constanţa: Tipografia Ovidiu, 1905).

Costinescu, Emil, Încurajarea industriei naţionale [The Encouragement of the National Industry] (Bucharest: Imprimeriile Independenţa, 1912).

Enciclopedia României, vol. I, Statul [Romania’s Encyclopedia, vol. I, The State] (Bucharest: Imprimeriile Naţionale, 1936).

Sută, Nicolae, Gabriela Drăgan, Maria Mureșan, Sultana Sută–Selejan, Istoria comerţului exterior şi a politicii comerciale româneşti [The History of the Romanian Foreign Trade and Commercial Policy] (Bucharest: Editura Eficient, 1998).


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