From 1899 to 1904 a countervailing duty was imposed on bounty-fed beet sugar.
The British delegates wrote that it appeared that there were at that time but two methods of securing the suppression of the bounty system - an arrangement for limitation of the French and Russian bounties acceptable to the other sugar-producing states, in return for the total abolition of their bounties; or, a convention between a certain number of these states, providing for the total suppression of their bounties, and for the prohibition of entry into their territory of bounty-fed sugars, or countervailing duties prohibiting importation.
It seems right to point out, however, that countervailing duties, which are really differential duties of a special kind, are not the good expedient they are supposed to be for nullifying foreign bounties; that experience of differential duties in former times is altogether against them; and that they cannot be enforced without certificates of origin and other causes of harassment and confusion in the conduct of trade.
But until the clouds rise above the hill there is an obvious countervailing tendency to compression, and in steep slopes this may reduce or entirely prevent precipitation until the summit is reached, when a fall of pressure with commotion must occur.
A fresh conference of the powers assembled at Brussels, on the invitation of the Belgian government, on the 7th of June 1898; and although the British delegates were not empowered to consent to a penal clause imposing countervailing duties on bountied sugar, the Belgian premier, who presided, was able to assure them that if Great Britain would agree to such a clause, he could guarantee the accession of the governments of Germany, Austria, Holland and his own.
On the 10th of March 1899 an act, authorizing the imposition of countervailing duties on bounty-fed articles at the port of importation, was passed by the Council of India, and received the assent of the governor-general.