It is proposed to make available for all members of the British Manufacturers' Corporation (as it will be styled) the services of men of first-class ability as representatives abroad, who will possess a thoro knowledge of business con ditions in the different countries to which they may be ap pointed, and where they will reside. They will be known as agents in charge. It will be their business to find and appoint men as local selling agents for individual firms, look out for new trade openings, report on the general reputation of prospective customers, and generally superintend the busi ness interests of all firms in the organization. To increase trade will be the sole object of their employment by the cor poration, and they will be expected to meet the requirements of the corporation or be replaced by more capable and ener getic representatives.
There is in present contemplation an organization of a thousand members subscribing £100 or £2,00 (roughly $500 or $1000) per annum. With such a fund, and an organiza tion of such character, very strong inducements could be offered to the right kind of men to become these foreign agents in charge.
A similar scheme has taken definite shape in Can ada. The Export Association of Canada was organ ized in 1915 for the purpose of securing orders for its members, aiding them ir_ securing representation abroad, making collections, and financing export orders.
The Norwegian Government has established a De partment of Industrial Supply under a cabinet min ister to provide for and to distribute raw materials for Norwegian industries and to develop the native resources of iron, copper and nickel ores. Along with this government activity has gone the establishing of large private combinations. One of the most for midable is a new hydro-electric syndicate with a cap ital of $15,450,000 organized for the exploitation of a number of water falls and the production of carbide, nitrates, carborundum and other electrochemical products. Among recent developments elsewhere are the Swedish International Trading Company, the Netherlands Export Company, the Sheffield Steel combine, and the joint selling company organized by the Scotch oil trade.
9. Buying buying com binations exist among foreign firms. These are of two classes: the cooperative wholesale societies, found both in Great Britain and on the Continent, and the large commercial combinations of England and Ger many.
At the close of 1917 there were 1,465 industrial co operative societies in the United Kingdom with a membership of 3,831,896 and a. combined capital of £81,770,273."The English cooperatives combined in 1863 to establish the Cooperative Wholesale Society, Ltd., for the purpose of cooperative buy
ing and, since 1872, also for manufacturing. This Society maintains offices in New York, Mont real, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, West Africa and Ceylon. In cooperation with another society, the Scottish Cooperative Wholesale Society, organized in 1868, with capital resources in excess of $23, 000,000, it operates tea estates in Ceylon and South ern India, as well as cocoanut groves in Africa. The New York office alone buys yearly over $8,000, 000 worth of American products, chiefly wheat, ba 1 Normal conversion value would be $397,393,527.
con, lard, leather, dried fruits and canned goods.
Before the war the metal trade was very strongly organized by commercial combinations. The copper, silver, zinc and aluminum market abroad were thus controlled by German, English and French firms, many of which, thru interlocking directorates, oper ated in the closest harmony.
The copper trade had been ruled for years by a German buying organization, of which the Metall bank and Metalllirgische Gesellschaft A. G. of Frankfort-on-the-Main formed the headquarters. This combination controlled and owned subsidiary companies in Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, Belgium, England, Africa and Australia, and con trolled large mines and smelters in the United States and Mexico.
The effect of such buying combinations was stated by Mr. John D. Ryan in the following words: In ten years ending 1913 a number of large copper-pro ducing companies of the United States sold thru their several selling agents 5,560,000,000 pounds of copper, of which 2,580,000,000 pounds were sold to domestic consumers, and 2,980,000,000 pounds to foreign consumers, bringing a total of $821,000,000 in money. The foreign buyers paid an average price of 14.38 cents per pound, delivered at foreign ports; the domestic buyers paid an average of 15.21 cents per pound, delivered at home or .83 cent per pound more than the foreigners paid. This represented about one-half of the copper produced in this country, and was consumed al most one-half at home and one-half abroad.
If we take it for granted that other producers sold at about the same average price, the foreign manufacturers who put labor and profit into our copper for the markets they were supplying had the advantage of a handicap of fifty millions in that period against the American manufac turers, in spite of the fact that producers of raw copper have had no tariff protection or any governmental help to keep domestic prices higher. The handicap is simply the result of the advantage combined foreign buying has had as against competitive selling.