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Proceedings of the International Trade Conference

Proceedings of the International Trade Conference

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Excerpt from Proceedings of the International Trade Conference: Held Under the Auspices of the National Association of Manufacturers of the United States of America, in Co-Operation With Banking and Transportation Interests of the United States, at New York City, December 6, 7, 8, 1915

On the outbreak of the great war in Europe the National Association of Manufacturers issued a special bulletin in which it was said that "the immediate effects on the commerce and industry of the United States are second only to those of the belligerent countries. These effects are shown in the closing of stock exchanges, issues of emergency currency, fluctuations in prices, shortage of raw material supplies, interruption of ocean transportation, collapse of foreign exchange, markets for nearly half of our exports wholly or partly closed."

It was fortunate not only for the people of the United States but for those of neutral countries that the manufacturers and financial institutions of the United States were in position to withstand adverse conditions, and in the bulletin referred to it was further said that "the almost complete stoppage of the industrial machinery of the chief manufacturing countries of the world outside of the United States places a great duty on this country which its humanity alone would compel it to meet."

In issuing the call for the International Trade Conference, the proceedings of which are reported in full in this volume, it was said that in the year which had elapsed since the outbreak of the great war "many changes have taken place. Our stock exchanges have long been open, the emergency currency has been withdrawn from circulation, prices of commodities have steadied, ocean transportation to neutral countries has been provided with fair regularity, and steps have been taken to substitute dollar exchange for sterling exchange with the neutral markets of the world."

Nevertheless, despite the overcoming of some difficulties and mitigation of others, there have continued sufficient trouble and complications arising out of the great conflict to adversely affect business both international and domestic throughout the whole world.

Therefore, in issuing the invitations to business men to attend the International Trade Conference it was emphasized that "continuation of the conflict means prolongation of many of the troubles affecting commerce and industry," and that "the termination of hostilities will also create problems in the adjustment of commercial and industrial relations which again will react on commerce and industry throughout the entire world."

"Because of these facts and of the intimate relation of American business with that of the belligerent as well as neutral countries, it is especially desirable that a clear understanding of all the facts bearing on these matters should be had by the American business man and particularly the manufacturer."

It was felt that these were weighty and sufficient reasons for the calling of an International Trade Conference.

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