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Governmental Trade Promotion 1

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GOVERNMENTAL TRADE PROMOTION 1. Various methods of promoting foreign trade.— The government may aid foreign trade in three differ ent ways. It may lighten the burdens imposed on the trader by tariff laws, either domestic or foreign. It may furnish trade information and establish schools or courses in foreign trade and it may actually co operate in commercial undertakings.

2. Commercial as to lightening the burdens of the law. A free trade country is usually in a poor position to obtain concessions from other nations since it can offer nothing in return. Protec tionist countries have in their tariff entries a basis for bargaining. The commercial treaty of bargain has, however, introduced an element which may lead to a breakdown of the protective system. The "most fa vored nation clause" in a treaty, for example, binds the contracting governments to confer upon each other all favors which they may in the future grant to other nations. Its most extreme or "unconditional form" makes it possible for some countries without making any concessions to fall heir to many desirable rights and privileges for which others have paid dear. Growing dissatisfaction with this clause will probably lead to its abandonment in course of time.

Commercial treaties are not the only ones which concern the foreign trader. His status or that of his company, tho in most countries regulated by the local commercial law or code, is frequently modified and sometimes determined in its entirety by legal treaty. The right of "extra-territoriality" is an example. This is a right which is assured to the citizens of Christian countries in most non-Christian states to be judged according to the laws of their native land and not according to the laws of the state in which they reside. The United States had at one time a treaty with Turkey which stated that "if disputes should arise between the subjects of the Sublime Porte and citizens of the United States, the parties shall not be heard nor shall judgment be pronounced unless the American dragoman, interpreter or agent be present." Disputes between citizens of the United States were to be settled under this agreement in the consular court. Similar treaties exist with China, Japan, Siam and Persia.

3. Patent rights and trade-marks.—Treaties deal ing with patent rights and trade-marks are impor tant. American manufacturers have on the whole been neglectful of their foreign interest in these re spects. It is not unusual for a manufacturer to de cide to enter a market abroad and to spend a con siderable sum in initial development, only to have his first shipment of goods confiscated because they carry an infringing trade-mark or embody an infringing patent. The explanation is that the American manu facturer has failed to take out a patent in the foreign country or register his trade-mark, and others have done so.

A pamphlet published by the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce describes a typical situation:— A Cuban druggist registered the mark of a preparation well known in the United States, and when shipments of these goods arrived he applied to the Cuban government to exclude them as an infringement of his trade-mark. It is said to have cost the owners $900 to buy up his rights, in addition to $300 in attorneys' fees.

We are informed that there are at present in Havana half a dozen firms who are constantly on the lookout for the products of foreign manufacturers. As soon as the con cerns referred to learn that certain articles are being sold in Cuba, they register the respective trade-marks in their own names and then demand money from the foreign manufac turer. If their requirements are not complied with, the "pirates" apply to the courts and can have all merchandise bearing their trade-marks confiscated and either turned over to them, or else destroyed.

The registration of patents and trade-marks by for eigners is possible in almost every country.

4. how to register trade-marks.—The process of registering a trade-mark is fairly simple. In the United States the applicant files with the Patent Of fice, in writing, a statement giving his name, location of business, citizenship, a description of the goods to which the trade-mark will be attached, and a draw ing of the trade-mark. The fee is $10. The regis-, tration remains in force for 20 years, except in the case of a foreign patent, which expires when the pat ent right in the country of original registration ex pires.

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