Sugar Competition Essay

654 words - 3 pages

Competition from Cuba and Brazil was not the only reason for the problems in the British West Indies sugar industry in the late 19th century. Sugar cane was the main export in the British West Indies which experienced problems due to the controversial sugar duty act and the lack of technological investment on the plantation. In this essay I would seek to explain increased competition from foreign sources, competition from beet sugar producers, the price of sugar declined because of a glut on the market and planters lack sufficient capital to invest in technology and production.
Firstly the British West Indies experienced problems from the sugar duties act. The British West Indies sugar duties act was in place from 1846 and was set to reduce preferential duties by 1854. William Green notes that “the differential tax on foreign sugar was to be systematically reduced by 1s. 6d. a year until by 1851 all sugar entering the United Kingdom would pay no duties.” This act is sometimes known as the equalization act. This opened up the market for a further competition in sugar. Before this act refined sugar from foreign sources came in at different rates. Lobdell notes that the British West Indies paid 24s per cwt, 32s per cwt for other empire producers and a staggering 63s duty on foreign muscovado. This measure favoured West Indian planters because the duties to Britain were the lowest. This was a type of preferential trading agreement between British West Indies and Britain. However the act of 1846 saw by 1874 the last duties on sugar being removed and sugar being accepted with no duty.
In Cuba sugar was sold between 21s 6d to 24s 6d in the years 1841 to 1846. Also in Brazil between 20s 9d to 19s 11d and the British West Indies sold sugar at 39s 8d to 34s 5d in the same period. Since Cuba and Brazil could produce sugar more cheaply, the British West Indies had an...

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