Commercial Regulations. Decisions of the Treasury Department Under The Tariff Acts. (Gambia.)

Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review.
Edited by William B. Dana
Volume Fifty-First
From July to December, Inclusive, 1864.
New York: William B. Dana, publisher and proprietor, Chamber of Commons and Underwriters' Building, Nos. 61 and 62 William Street.


Treasury Department, May 3, 1864.

The questio as to the proper rate of duty to be assessed on gambia, gambir, or gambier, has been presented to this Department by the appraisers at your port, and the subject was referred to experts and scientific gentlemen for their views. The result may be briefly stated thus:

Gambia is nowhere designated in any of the tariff acts by name, but has been included under the general term of "terra japonica,' of which catechu or cuter may be considered a variety.

Under the act of March, 1861, (23d section "terra japonica, catechu, or cutch," were admitted free; but under the act of July, 1862, (5th section,) catch or catechu are made liable to a duty of 10 per cent ad valorem.

It is claimed that, by reason of terra japonica not being provided for in the act of July by name, it still stands in the 23d section of the act of March, 1861, and should be admitted to entry free of duty.

In this conclusion I cannot agree with the appraisers. It is more reasonable to suppose that Congress, having discovered that "terra japonica " was a misnomer, excluded it from the act of July, 1862, for that reason only.

Gambia is eseentially identical with catecha or catch. They are alike in their physical properties, as color, taste, smell, and solubility; in their chemical properties, as shown by their analysis; in their medical propertied, both being powerful astringents; in their technical properties, both being used in the arts for precisely the same purposes.

I am of the opinion that gambia should be assessed at the same rate of duty as catechu or catch, viz.: ten per cent ad valorem, by virtue of the 20th section of act of August, 1842.

I am, very respectfully,
S. P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury.
To Hirah Barney, Esq., Collector, New York

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