The United States and Cuba: Business and Diplomacy, 1917-1960

By Robert F. Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR

Sugar Tariff Battle:
Second Phase, 1929-1933

I

By the fall of 1928 various industrial and agricultural groups were again agitating for an increase in the tariff. The domestic beet sugar producers were among the most outspoken advocates of higher duties. In the case of sugar three things had happened in order after 1922: (1) the domestic price increased while the foreign price was depressed; (2) domestic production increased; (3) both the domestic and the foreign price declined to a point where the domestic producers were again unable to make a profit. 1 While the beet sugar producers were increasing their output, they were supplying a decreasing proportion of the American market. During the period 1927-30 the domestic producers supplied 18.4 percent of the sugar consumed in the United States, while Cuba supplied 49.4 percent and the insular areas supplied 31.8 percent. 2 This represented a gain for the latter group, and a decline for Cuba and the beet sugar interests. Thus, the demand for more protection and the vigorous opposition to this demand were both stimulated by the same factors.

Five distinct lobby groups were engaged in the sugar tariff battle of 1929-30. Two of these, the domestic producers and the insular producers, generally worked together against the Cuban interests. Both were interested in cutting down the Cuban share of the American market, and therefore cooperated on some issues. On the other hand, both were competitors and consequently opposed each other on other issues.

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