DOWNS V. UNITED STATES, 187 U. S. 496 (1903)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Downs v. United States, 187 U.S. 496 (1903)

Downs v. United States

No. 318

Argued October 29, 1902

Decided January 6, 1903

187 U.S. 496


When a tax is imposed upon all sugar produced, but is remitted upon all sugar exported, then, by whatever process or in whatever manner or under whatever name it is disguised, it is a bounty upon exportation. As under the laws and regulations of Russia, the Russian exporter of

Page 187 U. S. 497

sugar obtains from his government a certificate solely because of such exportation, which certificate is salable and has an actual value in the open market, the government of Russia does secure to the exporter from that country, as the inevitable result of such action, a money reward or gratuity whenever he exports sugar from Russia, and which is in effect a bounty upon the export of sugar which subjects such sugar, upon its importation into the United States, to an additional duty equal to the entire amount of such bounty under the act of Congress of July 24, 1897, 30 Stat. 205.

This was a writ of certiorari to review a decree of the circuit court of appeals affirming a decree of the Circuit Court for the District of Maryland which itself affirmed the action of the Board of General Appraisers holding a cargo of refined sugar imported into Baltimore from Russia subject to a countervailing duty leviable upon merchandise upon which a bounty is paid upon exportation.

The proceedings were instituted by a petition filed in the circuit court setting up the importation of sugar on the steamship Assyria July 6, 1899, the imposition of a countervailing duty by the collector of customs at Baltimore, and the payment of the same under protest, and the fact that the decision of the collector had been affirmed by the Board of General Appraisers. The grounds stated in the petition for a review are generally that the country from which the sugar was exported did not pay or bestow, directly or indirectly, any bounty or grant upon the exportation of said sugar.

The return of the general appraisers contained a copy of the proceedings before them, including a copy of the Russian law and regulations, a stipulation of facts, a copy of certain reports from the United States consul at Odessa, and their opinion overruling the protest, and affirming the decision of the collector. The circuit court affirmed the action of the general appraisers, and upon appeal to the circuit court of appeals that court in turn affirmed the decree of the circuit court.

Page 187 U. S. 500

113 F.1d 4.

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