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The United States of America on the one part, and His Majesty the King of the Belgians on the other part, wishing to regulate in a formal manner their reciprocal relations of commerce and navigation, and further to strengthen, through the development of their interests, respectively, the bonds of friendship and good understanding so happily established between the Governments and people of the two countries; and desiring with this view to conclude, by common agreement, a treaty establishing conditions equally advantageous to the commerce and navigation of both States, have to that effect appointed as their Plenipotentiaries, namely: the President of the United States, Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State of the United States; and His Majesty the King of the Belgians Maurice Delfosse, Commander .of the Order of Leopold, &e., &c., his Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary in the United States; who, after having communicated to each other their full powers, ascertained to be in good and proper form, have agreed to and concluded the following articles:
There shall be full and entire freedom of commerce and navigation between the inhabitants of the two countries, and the same security and protection which is enjoyed by the citizens or subjects of each country shall be guaranteed on both sides. The said inhabitants, whether established or temporarily residing within any ports, cities or places whatever of the two countries, shall not, on account of their commerce or industry, pay any other or higher duties, taxes or imposts than those which shall be levied on citizens or subjects of the country in which they may be; and the privileges, immunities and other favors, with regard to commerce or industry, enjoyed by the citizens or subjects of one of the two States, shall be common to those of the other.
Belgian vessels, whether coming from a Belgian or a foreign port, shall not pay, either on entering or leaving the ports of the United States, whatever may be their destination, any other or higher duties of tonnage, pilotage, anchorage, buoys, light-houses, clearance, brokerage or, generally, other charges, whatsoever, than are required from vessels of the United States in similar cases. This provision extends, not only to duties levied for the benefit of the State, but also to those levied for the benefit of provinces, cities, countries, districts, townships, corporations or any other division or jurisdiction, whatever may be its designation.
Reciprocally, vessels of the United States, whether coming from a port of said States or from a foreign port, shall not pay, either on entering or leaving the ports of Belgium, whatever may be their destination, any other or higher duties of tonnage, pilotage. anchorage. buoys, light-houses, clearance, brokerage or, generally, other charges whatever, than are required from Belgian vessels, in similar cases. This provision extends not only to duties levied for the benefit of the State, but also to those levied for the benefit of provinces, cities, countries districts, townships, corporations or any other division or jurisdiction, whatever may be its designation.
As regards the coasting trade between the ports of either country, the vessels of the two nations shall be treated on both sides on the same footing with the vessels of the most favored nations.
Objects of any kind soever introduced into the ports of either of the two States under the flag of the other, whatever may be their origin and from what country soever the importation thereof may have been made, shall not, pay other or higher entrance duties, nor shall be subjected to other charges or restrictions than they would pay, or be subjected to, were they imported under the national flag.
Articles of every description exported by Belgian vessels, or by those of the United States of America from the ports of either country to any country whatsoever, shall be subjected to no other duties or formalities than such as are required for exportation under the flag of the country where the shipment is made.
All premiums, drawbacks or other favors of like nature, which may be allowed in the States of either of the contracting parties upon goods imported or exported in national vessels, shall be likewise and in the same manner, allowed upon goods imported directly from one of the two countries by its vessels into the other, or exported from one of the two countries by the vessels of the other to any destination whatsoever.
The preceding article is, however, not to apply to the importation of the produce of the national fisheries, each of the two parties reserving to itself the faculty of granting special privileges for the importation of those articles under its own flag.
The high contracting parties agree to consider and to treat as Belgian vessels, and as vessels of the United States, all those which being provided by the competent authority with a passport, sea-letter(1), or any other sufficient document, shall be recognized, conformably with existing laws, as national vessels in the country to which they respectively belong.
Belgian vessels and those of the United States may, conformably with the laws of the two countries, retain on board, in the ports of both, such parts of their cargoes as may be destined for a foreign country; and such parts shall not be subjected, either while they remain on board or upon re-exportation, to any charges whatsoever other than those for the prevention of smuggling.
During the period allowed by the laws of the two countries respectively for the warehousing of goods, no duties, other than those of watch and storage, shall be levied upon articles brought from either country into the other while awaiting transit, re-exportation, or entry for consumption. Such goods shall in no case be subject to higher warehouse charges, or to other formalities, than if they had been imported under the flag of the country.
In all that relates to duties of customs and navigation, the two high contracting parties promise, reciprocally, not to grant any favor, privilege or immunity to any other State which shall not instantly become common to the citizens and subjects of both parties respectively; gratuitously, if the concession or favor to such other State is gratuitous, and on allowing the same compensation, or its equivalent, if the concession is conditional.
Neither of the contracting parties shall lay upon goods proceeding from the soil or the industry of the other party, which may be imported into its ports, any other or higher duties of importation or re-exportation than are laid upon the importation or re-exportation of similar goods coming from any other foreign country.
In case either of the high contracting parties shall announce to the other its desire to terminate this Article, the operation and the obligation thereof shall cease and determine at the expiration of one year from the delivery of such notice, leaving however the remaining articles of the Treaty in force until terminated according to the provisions of Article XVI. hereinafter.
In cases of shipwreck, damages at sea, or forced putting in, each party shall afford to the vessels of the other, whether belonging to the State or to individuals, the same assistance and protection and the same immunities which would have been granted to its own vessels in similar cases.
Articles of all kinds, the transit of which is allowed in the United States, coming from or going to Belgium, shall be exempt from all transit duty in the United States.
Reciprocally, articles of all kinds, the transit of which is allowed in Belgium, coming from or going to the United States. shall be exempt from all transit duty in Belgium. Such transit. whether in the United States or in Belgium, shall be subject, however, to such limitations as to the points between which the transit may be made, and to such regulations for the protection of the revenue and the prevention of withdrawal of the articles for consumption or use, Within the country through which the transit is made, as are or may be prescribed by or under the authority of the laws of the countries respectively.
The high contracting parties, desiring to secure complete and efficient protection to the manufacturing industry of their respective citizens, agree that any counterfeiting in one of the two countries of the trade-marks affixed in the other on merchandise, to show its origin and quality, shall be strictly prohibited, and shall give ground for all action of damages favor of the injured party, to be prosecuted in if, the courts of the country in which the counterfeit shall be proven.
The trade-marks in which the citizens of one of the two countries may wish to secure the right of property in the other, must be lodged, to wit: the marks of citizens of the United States, at Brussels, in the office of the Clerk of the Tribunal of Commerce; and the mark of Belgian citizens, at the Patent Office in Washington.
It is understood that if a trade-mark has become public property in the country of its origin, it shall be equally free to all in the other country.
The present treaty shall be in force during ten years from the day of the exchange of the ratifications, and until the expiration of twelve months after either of the high contracting parties shall have announced to the other its intention to terminate the operation thereof; each party reserving to itself the right of making such declaration. to the other at the end of the ten years above mentioned and it is agreed that after the expiration of the twelve months of prolongation accorded on both sides, this treaty and all its stipulations shall cease to be in force.
This treaty shall be ratified, and the ratifications shall be exchanged at Brussels within the term of nine months after its date or sooner if possible.
In faith whereof, the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the present treaty in duplicate, and have affixed thereto their seals at Washington, the eighth day of March eighteen hundred and seventy five.
(1) A Sea-letter is a type of manifest containing a description of the a ship's cargo, including the port of origin and the port of destination. This is one of the necessary documents to be carried by a neutral vessel in time of war to prove their nationality. The last sea-letter issued by the United States was at the Port of New York in 1806. Sea-letters were discontinued by Proclamation of President Madison in 1815. (Note added by the Avalon Project; Verified in Black's Law Dictionary, West Publishing, 1990.)BackDocument Text Here
Treaties, Conventions, International Acts and Agreements Between the United States of America and Other Powers 1776-1909.
Compiled by William M. Malloy
Under Resolution of the Senate of January 18, 1909
Washington : Government Printing Office, 1910.