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HOW TO CANVASS MEXICO: CHIEF COMMERCIAL CENTERS1
Customs Formalities.-The baggage of passengers entering Mexico by way of Laredo, El Paso, etc., must be transferred to the Mexican side by automobile or truck, as no trains now cross the border into Mexico. Inspection of baggage takes place on the Mexican side. Passengers should be present when this inspection takes place and claim their trunks after the inspection has been completed.
When arriving by sea the baggage is inspected in the customhouse at the port of arrival. The examination is usually conducted in a prompt and
Hotel runners may try to convince passengers that they can have the baggage successfully passed through the customhouse, but this matter should be attended to by the traveler in person.
Railway Baggage Regulations.-The usual baggage allowance on a firstclass ticket is 50 kilos (110 pounds). For excess baggage rates see railway guide.
Salesmen's Samples.-Samples of any character which are not prohibited by customs laws may be imported duty free, provided they possess no commercial value.
For samples which have a commercial value, a bond may be given at the customhouse for a sum equivalent to the duty on the samples. The period for which bond is given is several months. Salesmen should carry with them letters of authority from their firms to customhouse agents at the border, who will thereupon look after the necessary bond.
If samples which have a value are carried into Mexico and later reexported, it is important that there should be no change in weight or quantity. If there is a difference noted when samples are reexported, they may be confiscated.
If the customhouse at port of reexportation is furnished with a memorandum of samples that have been sold and the payment of duty thereon is volunteered, the matter can easily be arranged, and bond will then be canceled for that portion of the samples sold.
Reexportation of Samples Through Other Ports.-Samples may be brought in through one and reexported from another port. The traveler should obtain a document at the port of entry which he can present to the customhouse at the port of reexportation, which will enable him to effect the clearance without difficulty.
Time Required for Clearance.-Samples which have no commercial value and are carried by the salesman as baggage can easily be cleared without any delay. Baggage will be inspected by customs officials and passed very quickly. Samples which have a commercial value and require the giving of a bond can be cleared in practically the time that is required for the clerical work necessary to prepare the proper papers. This can usually be expedited by the aid of a customs broker.
Duties on Advertising Matter.-Mexican authorities permit travelers to carry with them and admit free of duty a limited amount of advertising
1 Reprinted from Commercial Travelers' Guide to Latin America, by Ernst B. Filsinger, U. S. Dept. of Commerce. Miscel. Series No. 89. Though originally published in 1920, the information herein included is still up-to-date except for a few trivial details.
matter, such as calendars, catalogues, etc. The quantity so admitted is usually governed by the customs officials.
Best Visiting Time.-The time for a traveler to visit Mexico depends entirely upon the conditions which govern the line of trade of the traveler. In Mexico, unlike the countries in South America, prompt deliveries are exacted, and merchants, as a rule, will not buy so far in advance as in other Latin-American countries.
Baggage Rates.-No special concessions are granted by the railroads of Mexico to commercial travelers.
Commercial Travelers' Taxes.-No national tax is levied on commercial travelers. Certain municipalities or States may do so.
Routes to Follow.-In dealing with a country as important as Mexico, it is manifestly out of the question to mention arbitrarily the places to visit. Hardly two travelers will agree as to the best routes to follow. All that can be done for an uninitiated traveler is to give certain specimen trips, which will afford some idea of the routes that may be followed. These are subject to many variations.
Trip 1.-For arrival by way of Laredo (visiting most important cities only); Monterey, Victoria, Tampico, San Luis Potosi, Torreon, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Leon, Guanajuato, Queretaro, Pachuca, Mexico City.
Trip 2.-Arrival by way of El Paso, Tex.: Chihuahua, Torreon, Durango, return to Torreon, Monterey, Tampico, San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, Pachuca, Mexico City.
Trip 3.-From Mexico City to Puebla, Orizaba, Vera Cruz, Puerto Mexico, Frontera.
Trip 4.-Mexico City to Morelia, Guanajuato, Guadalajara, Tepic, Mazatlan, Culiacan, Guaymas, Hermosillo, Nogales, Naco.
Trip 5.-Reverse the foregoing, beginning at Naco, Ariz., or continue from trip 6.
Trip 6.--Mexico City to Queretaro, Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, Torreon, Chihuahua, El Paso; Naco, Ariz.; Cananea, Nogales, and thence continue as trip 4 reversed.
Special note.-Travelers should plan their trips in accordance with the requirements of their particular lines. The Railroad Guide (published monthly) is indispensable.
Buyers in Mexico.-In planning to canvass the Republic careful attention should be given to selecting the classes of merchants or buyers to approach. Travelers who deal with the largest firms of wholesale importers can not advantageously canvass the retail trade also without incurring the risk of losing the patronage of the large importers. In some places houses which do a large retail business also carry on a wholesale business. The traveler must exercise the utmost care to inform himself fully regarding these conditions, else he is likely to jeopardize his ultimate prospects. The wholesalers in Mexico who are located in the strategic centers, such as Mexico City, Monterey, Chihuahua, etc., bear the same relation to the smaller merchants in the adjoining district as do the wholesale houses of the United States to their adjacent fields.
There must be taken into consideration, in addition to the conditions described in the foregoing paragraph, a numerous group of buyers such as railways, power plants, industrial or manufacturing establishments, mines, breweries, etc. It would be impossible in a work of this character to particularize the methods to be followed in every instance.
Agencies. It is impossible to lay down hard and fast rules for the establishment of agencies or for the canvassing of Mexico. The country is so large that when numerous towns have to be visited periodically it is inadvisable to expect the work to be done by one traveling man. Houses which content themselves with opening an office in Mexico City or allowing the Republic to be canvassed from that point frequently find that the results are far from satisfactory. The following is suggested as a basis for the division of the country. It is, however, purely arbitrary and not applicable to all
lines of merchandise or manufacture: Northeast Mexico, headquarters at Monterey; north central Mexico, headquarters at Chihuahua; northwestern Mexico (including Pacific coast), headquarters at Hermosillo; central Mexico, headquarters at Mexico City; southeastern Mexico, headquarters at Vera Cruz.
In the case of agencies that require a more intensive method of distribution, many additional towns would have to be named. The reader is directed to the succeeding pages in which the different towns are described so that they may easily be studied. In this connection it should be pointed out that Merida, in Yucatan, is often considered by itself, because of the importance of its location in relation to the surrounding country. Many firms find it quite easy to divide the Mexican field into two or three distinct territories which are canvassed regularly.
Points of Interest.-Obviously it is impossible in a guide of this nature to give detailed descriptions of the places and objects of interest. Mexico offers extraordinary opportunities to the traveler; from the scenic, historic, and commercial standpoints it is unusually favored. Those who wish to obtain the maximum enjoyment and profit from a visit to Mexico are urged to buy a copy of an excellent guide book called "Terry's Mexico," published in the United States by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston, Mass. It is on sale in Mexico City at the Sonora News Co., Calle de Gante 4. In this volume are detailed descriptions of practically everything of interest that is likely to appeal to the traveler.
Hotels. The hotel rates in Mexico show wide fluctuations. The character of the accommodations differ as greatly as do those in the various cities of the United States. Normally, in Mexico City and other large places, the accommodations offered by the larger houses are of the first grade. In the smaller towns they are less desirable, while in the more remote places they are distinctly poor.
Hotel Rates. With the exception of some of the hotels in the larger cities, especially Mexico City, practically all hotels are conducted on the American plan. Generally speaking, the traveler will find this preferable, for in most instances the dining rooms in connection with the best hotels offer the maximum quality of food and service. Owing to the war, political troubles, etc., rates in Mexico, as elsewhere, have suffered a distinct advance and prices are now higher than formerly. Generally speaking, however, hotel rates are not as high as in the United States, despite the advances. Hotels in the larger cities conducted on the American plan charge the equivalent in American money of $3 to $7 per day. Hotels of the second grade are somewhat cheaper. In the less important cities the rates in American gold are about $2.50 to $5 per day.
In some of the mining communities and places difficult of access, with consequent scarcity of supplies, the rates are higher. On many railroads are restaurants, at which stops. are made of sufficient length for the traveler to obtain meals.
Hints for Travelers.-Salesmen who visit Mexico should bear in mind that the larger importing houses who do a wholesale business object seriously if salesmen who canvass for their trade attempt also to sell to retailers. This principle applies generally throughout Latin America, and the failure to observe it often results in the loss of business.
In this Republic the size of a community is not an index to the commercial possibilities. This is particularly true of the towns in the northern States, many of which, being near the United States, are accustomed to make direct importations. In this respect conditions differ very materially from those in Argentina or Brazil.
Those who are compelled to travel overland or in places difficult of access should make a careful study of the seasons in order that they may not find their journey impeded by impassable roads due to heavy rainstorms.
Holidays in Mexico. Following are listed the chief holidays of this Republic. The State religion being Roman Catholic, many of the feast days of the church are scrupulously observed. Generally speaking, business is sus
pended on the holidays officially recognized (Jan. 1, Feb. 5, May 5, Sept. 16, Dec. 25), except in the interior (in the smaller towns), where the merchants take advantage of these days for the transaction of business with the natives who visit the towns in large numbers.
January 1, New Year's Day; February 5, anniversary of the Constitution; May 5, anniversary del Triumfo en 1862; September 16, anniversary of independence; December 25, Christmas Day. There are also many holidays observed in certain states and cities.
IMPORTANT COMMERCIAL CENTERS
ACAPULCO, State of Guerrero; population, 7,000; good port on Pacific coast; vessels anchor offshore; 118 miles (189 km.) from Chilpancingo; 320 nautical miles from Manzanillo. Climate hot. Principal products: Fruits, vegetables, tobacco, cotton, cereals.
American consul and vice consul. Lloyd's agent, William McCann Hudson. How Reached.-From San Francisco, by steamer of Pacific Mail and Gulf Mail Steamship Lines; from Chilpancingo, by carretera.
Note. A place of growing importance, easily reached by steamers plying along the west coast, also from Chilpancingo by National Railways. normal times a considerable business is done. A number of important firms are located here and make direct importations.
AGUASCALIENTES, capital of State of Aguascalientes; population, 56,500; 415 miles (668 km.) from Tampico; 140 miles (226 km.) from Guadalajara; 364 miles (586 km.) from Mexico City; altitude, 6,280 feet. Climate, mild. Products: Corn, wheat, fruits. Industries: Cotton mills, tobacco factories, pottery works, flour mills, etc.
American consul and vice consul.
How Reached.-From Tampico, by rail, 19-hour journey by branch line of Mexican Central; from Mexico City, by Mexican Central Railway, average time four hours.
Trolley-car service from railway station to near-by towns. at railway station.
Bankers.-Jose & Luis J. Laris, Apartado 34 (correspondents of banks in Mexico City).
Hotels.-Bellini, Washington, Paris, Moore, Frances, Fraria.
Note. This place is an important agricultural center; also noted for its thermal springs and delicious fruits. The shops of the National Railways are located here. Normally a large business is transacted. Source of supply for the surrounding district. A number of business houses carry on a wholesale as well as a retail trade. Worthy of the attention of most salesmen.
CAMPECHE, capital of State of Campeche; population, 20,000; port on Bay of Campeche, western coast of peninsula of Yucatan; open roadstead; vessels anchor 5 to 10 miles offshore; S20 miles (1,320 km.) from Mexico City; 576 miles (930 km.) from Vera Cruz; 107 miles (173 km.) from Merida. Principal products: Logwood, salt, hemp, sisal, hides, coffee, sugar, cattle, chicle, fruit, etc.
American consular agent. Lloyd's agent, Domingo Diego.
How Reached.-From Merida, United Railways of Yucatan, average time five hours; from Vera Cruz, by Steamer (Cía. Mexico de Navegación); from New York, by Ward Line.
Hotels.-Betancourt, Monforte, Campechano, Note. An important port in southeastern trade in logwood, salt, sisal, hides, and chicle. salesmen who canvass that part of the Republic. portant houses that import direct.
Numero, Pasaje, Universal. Mexico; does a large export Worthy of the attention of There are a number of im
CANANEA, State of Sonora; population, 20,000; on Southern Pacific Railway of Mexico: 87 miles (140 km.) from Nogales; 39 miles (64 km.)