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UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C.
Present: Senators Neely (chairman of the subcommittee), Minton, Moore, Davis, and Austin.
The subcommittee had under consideration Senate bill no. 1.
Senator NEELY. The subcommittee will be in order. In response to a request made by the subcommittee last Thursday, the Department of Commerce has sent to us Mr. R. L. Harding, chief of the metals and minerals division, who is prepared to supply the information for which Senator Austin and other members of the committee have expressed a desire.
Mr. Harding, will you please take the witness stand?
STATEMENT OF R. L. HARDING, CHIEF OF THE METALS AND
MINERALS DIVISION, BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COM-
Senator NEELY (chairman of the subcommittee). Mr. Harding, the subcommittee desires a statement from an authoritative source as to the amount of bituminous coal imported into this country during the last 5 years. And, if available, the average price at which such coal was sold in this country.
Mr. HARDING. The memorandum we received, sir, asked not specifically for bituminous coal but information as to coal. I have, therefore, prepared tabulations, first, showing the general over-alỦ picture of our imports and exports in rough value tabulation. Then, I have also included the domestic production, so that you may get the comparison; in other words, value comparisons of United States imports, exports, and production of coal, both bituminous and anthracite.
Then, on the basis of tonnage of exports and imports, I have prepared comparative figures showing the production, exports and imports of coal, and you will find on this tabulation the percentages
that the latter two were of the first, that is, production, both of anthracite and bituminous coal.
And in order to make the picture as clear as possible, and comprehensive, I prepared for the last 5 years for which the data is available—and I might say that the data is not yet available in complete form for 1936---for the years 1930 to 1935, inclusive, of imports of both anthracite and bituminous coal, showing country of origin. That tabulation will give you a fair picture of the whole situation.
I might say that the only values readily available, or really available I might say, to us in the Department of Commerce are the published values on invoices, and those I have tabulated here in each case-I mean the average for each year. Of course, you gentlemen of the committee will understand that this is cost at point of origin, or port of origin, and freight, and duty, where duty is applied, and then the marketing cost in this country. As a matter of fact, coal comes in under such varying conditions, I mean that which comes from across the water, and freight, it is difficult to arrive at accurate figures. I am not in a position authoritatively to go into that.
For instance, on Saturday I did telegraph to Boston to get the value there, or the price at which coal was retailing, that came from Wales, from Russia, and from Pennsylvania. But I might say that it so happens that almost the entire imports in that locality are anthracite coal rather than bituminous.
As to the bituminous coal entering this country, I will say it has never reached a bulk of as much as one tenth of one percent of our domestic production.
Senator Davis. What are the imports of bituminous coal, I mean how many tons !
Mr. HARDING. The total imports of 1936 amounted to 223,000 tons. I have it all tabulated here.
Senator Davis. You say 223,000 tons !
Mr. HARDING. Yes, sir. I will leave copies of these tabulations, having made up enough so that each member of the subcommittee may have one.
Senator Davis. Where does the most of that coal come from? Does it come from western Canada?
Mr. HARDING. They do get it from western Canada, but some of it also comes from other places.
Senator Davis. Tell us what portion of it comes from western Canada.
Mr. HARDING. That is all covered in this tabulation. I give here the details as to each locality. For instance, Canada accounted for bituminous coal, in 1935, to the extent of 52,671 tons.
Senator MOORE. But all imports of bituminous coal simply mean one-tenth of 1 percent of our domestic production?
Mr. HARDING. Yes, sir.
Senator Davis. You say it amounts to only one-tenth of 1 percent of the coal mined in this country?
Mr. HARDING. Yes, sir.
Senator NEELY. The domestic production of bituminous coal during the last year was about 434,000,000 tons, was it not?
Mr. HARDING. It was 431,000,000 tons, approximately.
Senator NEELY. I called on the Bureau of Mines for that information
Mr. HARDING (interposing). Well, Senator Neely, they are in better position to give it.
Senator NEELY. The statistician of the bureau told me that the production of bituminous coal for the last calendar year was 434,070,000 tons.
Mr. HARDING. Well, my figures are very close to those. My tabula. tion in round figures is 432,000,000 tons. But they are the authoritative source of that information. I might say that I think these tabulations will give you the information you desire, and I will be glad to leave them for you to look at.
Senator NEELY. We shall be very glad to have them. But if it is satisfactory to you and to the other members of the subcommittee, you may save us time by making a brief statement. Suppose you state the approximate sale price of the small amount of coal imported into this country last year.
Senator Davis. What you mean, Mr. Chairman, is the cost per ton, I take it?
Senator NEELY. No. I mean the selling price if he has that information.
Mr. HARDING. I have none whatever. It varies so all over the country, and the freight enters into it, and it comes in at a different freight rate at different points. And some of the coal pays duty and some does not, and then it is shipped to various points. So that it is beyond the scope of anything we could undertake in the time at our disposal, even to find out where we might get such figures.
Senator NEELY. What is your best estimate of the per-ton cost of producing the coal that was imported into this country last year?
Mr. HARDING. I am sorry but I have not any authoritative information on that. It is not available to us in the Department of Commerce.
Senator NEELY. Do you have before you any figures showing the cost of production of any of this coal in foreign countries?
Mr. HARDING. Not one. You see, Senator Neely, that is information which in the first place we are not charged with securing. And should I get it, it would have to be second- or third-hand.
Senator NEELY. What is the total amount of bituminous coal imported into the United States during the last 5 calendar years?
Mr. HARDING. To give you that it would be necessary to add these figures. I have them shown here for each year.
Senator NEELY. Will you state the figures by years?
Mr. HARDING. For 1931 it is 185,000 tons; for 1932, 185,000 tons; for 1933, 190,000 tons; for 1934, 166,000 tons; for 1935, 180,000 tons; for 1936, approximately 223,000 tons. These are imports of bituminous coal into this country.
Senator NEELY. Have you any theory of accounting for the increase in importations of coal for the year 1936 over preceding years?
Mr. HARDING. I have no factual basis, except the knowledge of increasing business, increasing needs for coal in areas where imported coal is fed in, and the increasing needs for return cargoes from Great Britain in shipments to that country of minerals and grains.
Senator NEELY. Was this imported coal used principally for domestic or industrial purposes?
Mr. HARDING. I have no first-hand information on that.
Mr. HARDING. It is a little difficult to be sure in what States it was sold, except that in general I know into which areas it went. For instance, the bulk of the bituminous coal went into the States of Montana and Idaho, where in 1935 there were sent a little more than 55,000 tons. That is British Columbia coal. And during that year 17,289 tons went into the State of Washington, 3,441 tons into the State of North Dakota. The others are rather small. The Duluth-Superior district received 189 tons, and the New York district 96 tons.
Senator NEELY. The entire importations for the last 5 years have not exceeded a tenth of 1 percent of the domestic production. Mr. HARDING. That is correct.
Senator NEELY. How much coal did the United States export during the last 5 years?
Mr. HARDING. I have that for bituminous coal only.
Mr. HARDING. For 1930 it was 14,176,000 tons; for 1931 it was 10,827,000 tons; for 1932 it was 7,870,000 tons; for 1933 it was 8,069,000 tons; for 1934 it was 9,704,000 tons; for 1935 it was 8,699,000 tons, and for 1936 it was approximately 9,513,000 tons.
Senator NEELY. What is your explanation, if you have one, of the decrease in exportations from 14,176,000 tons in 1930 to approximately 9,500,000 tons in 1936 ?
Mr. HARDING. As a matter of fact, the drop from the top to the low point was not nearly as much in the matter of exports of coal as it was in many of our other exports. And the climb back has consequently been somewhat slower, I imagine, than in the case of some other exports. I think it simply has to do with the lessened activity in the case of all exports.
Senator Davis. Did the most of that coal go into Canada from Pennsylvania and West Virginia mines?
Mr. HARDING. Some did go to Canada, but I was talking only of bituminous coal.
Senator DAVIS. Was it anthracite that went to Canada?
Mr. HARDING. Well, I cannot say as to whether that that went from Pennsylvania was mostly anthracite coal or not.
Senator Davis. Isn't there a large tonnage of bituminous coal that went into Canada from western Pennsylvania? I know there is a large tonnage of anthracite.
Mr. HARDING. Yes, sir.
Senator Davis. And these figures you give us are for anthracite and bituminous combined ?
Mr. HARDING. No, sir; this is only bituminous coal I am now talking about. But as to the region, I have not that available to me, whether it came from Pennsylvania or West Virginia. We have only the records of the districts checking it through. Everything is based, of course, on the invoices for export. Those are the only figures available to us.
Senator AUSTIN. Would you mind putting into the record the exports of anthracite for the same period? This is very valuable information, and I should think we ought to have it in our record. At any rate, I should like to have it. And I should like to have, Mr. Chairman, these tabulations identified for the record for our use, even if it does not actually become a part of the stenographic record. I think the questions we have in mind are important.
Senator NEELY. If there is no objection, the tabulations furnished by Mr. Harding will be inserted in the record.
(The tabulations referred to will be found at the end of the day's proceedings.)
Mr. HARDING. I will say that I have four complete copies here, and I will leave them for your use.
Senator Davis. Mr. Chairman, I think they should be made a part of the record.
Senator NEELY. It is so ordered.
Senator AUSTIN. Yes; there is the question about price that I should like to bring up.
Senator NEELY. You may proceed.
Senator AUSTIN. Mr. Harding, I notice in your last sheet you state three prices: Russian anthracite per ton, $14.75; Wales anthracite per ton, $14.75; Pennsylvania per net ton, $13.75. What does that represent, and at what place?
Mr. HARDING. That is at Boston at retail on Friday of last week, being prices quoted publicly there.
Senator AUSTIN. That is to say, domestic coal had the advantage of $1 per ton over imported coal
Mr. HARDING. Yes, according to the quoted figures at Boston for anthracite coal.
Senator AUSTIN. Can you give us the same relative figures with respect to bituminous coal ?
Mr. HARDING. Unfortunately I cannot. You see, we have no machinery in the Department of Commerce whatever for determining or picking up those prices, except by calling on some other source. I imagine that the Bureau of Mines has a very complete division which goes into the economics of these things, and I believe you will find them in position to satisfy your questions.
Senator AUSTIN. There is a smaller quantity of anthracite than bituminous, I take it?
Mr. HARDING. Do you mean in existence?
Senator AUSTIN. No; as shown in your record. For instance, your record shows the production of anthracite coal to be much less than the production of bituminous coal.
Mr. HARDING. I have put those figures in merely to bring before you gentlemen a comparison in connection with exports and imports.