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Michell, Thomas

Report on the Contemporary State of Trade between Great Britain and Russia.

Report on the Contemporary State of Trade between Great Britain and Russia.

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[Michell, T.] [Report on the Contemporary State of Trade between Great Britain and Russia]. Otchet o Sovremennom Sostoyanii Torgovli mezhdu Velikobritaniey i Rossiey.

S.-Peterburg, V tipografii Maykova, 1866.
8vo, 93, [1] pp., [2] folded leaves of plates.

In publisher’s wrappers.
In good condition, uncut copy, tears and minor losses to cover and spine, light worn, lightly stained to front and back cover, some leaves are falling out.

It was a challenging period for Anglo-Russian trade relations. Starting in 1822, the Russian government embraced a policy of protectionism. The tariff introduced in 1822 banned the import of 300 types of goods and the export of 21. Despite these measures, Russia's foreign trade continued to grow, with the value of exports and imports doubling, including through smuggling routes via Prussia.
The tariff reduction of 1857 played a significant role in facilitating the rapid expansion of the Russian railway network, which, in turn, became the primary driver of Russian industrial development. In May 1865, another tariff reduction was implemented. Consequently, there was optimism that Russia, often considered "the last stronghold of the pure protective system," might eventually adopt Western commercial practices, including free trade.
"For the Anglo-Austrian Treaty of 1865 had strongly emphasized that "the principal states of Europe [combined] into a commercial coalition based on the principles of free trade, from which the great Empire of Russia alone yet keeps aloof"… British diplomats actively canvassed the merits of free trade in Moscow and St Petersburg, aided in part by the visit of a delegation from the British Association of Chambers of Commerce..." (Howe, A. Free Trade and Liberal England, 1846-1946. 1997).
Thomas Michell (1835-1899), the author of this book and British attaché (later Consul) in St. Petersburg, based his report on observations made during the All-Russia Exhibition of the Products of Russian Manufacture, held in Moscow in 1865. Members of the British Association of Chambers of Commerce were pleasantly surprised by the advancements in Russian industry and the improving product quality, particularly in sectors like cotton and wool manufacturing.
The book offers a comparison of English and Russian product quality while emphasizing the issue of free trade in Russia. However, despite the dedicated efforts of Michell, the impact on Russian tariff policy remained limited, primarily due to the mercantilist stance maintained by Russian merchants and manufacturers.
In English, the report was presented to both Houses of Parliament and published as Parliamentary Papers in 1866.

OCLC locates only one copy of this edition: in the University of Chicago Library.

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