By Athar & Keith Tribe Hussain
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Extra info for Marxism and the Agrarian Question: Volume 1 German Social Democracy and the Peasantry 1890–1907
The countries with which such an exchange took place were either industrial (like Switzerland or Belgium) or predominantly agricultural (like Austro-Hungary, Italy, Romania and Russia). Now it is clear from the list that the exchange of concession in most cases had to take the form of Germany lowering the tariff on its agricultural imports in return for other countries lowering their tariff on German industrial exports. Further, it was grainin particular rye and wheat- rather than meat and dairy products which accounted for the bulk of agricultural imports and also it was grain which enjoyed heavy protection in the 1880s.
In fact the first series of treaties with Belgium, Austro-Hungary, Switzerland and Italy were passed by the Reichstag with huge majorities. This was partly due to the fact that none of these countries were major exporters of grain to Germany. 27 The spectacular electoral victory of the Social Democrats who were hostile to tariffs further strengthened the free trading position. However, the second set of treaties with the major exporters of grain to Germany -Romania and Russia -came under increased opposition, but they too were ultimately passed.
For they were nothing more than an exchange of concessions between Germany and her trading partners; and the nature of the exchange was determined by Germany's pattern of trade. The countries with which such an exchange took place were either industrial (like Switzerland or Belgium) or predominantly agricultural (like Austro-Hungary, Italy, Romania and Russia). Now it is clear from the list that the exchange of concession in most cases had to take the form of Germany lowering the tariff on its agricultural imports in return for other countries lowering their tariff on German industrial exports.