114 Memorandum From Shaw [1] To Departments Of Commerce &

12th October, 1955


Trade Talks with Japan The delay in commencing informal trade talks with the Japanese is becoming an embarrassment. As you know, the Prime Minister announced as long ago as 17th November, 1954, that Australia proposed to hold talks on mutual problems arising from trade relations between this country and Japan.

2. The question of a formal agreement was initially postponed until after the GATT Review Session. We later suggested to the Japanese Government that preliminary informal trade talks would be the most useful approach. The Japanese Embassy in Canberra has asked us on several occasions when these talks might begin, and we have been telling them that certain inter-departmental consultations are a necessary preliminary for the talks to be effective.

3. Our decision to invoke Article XXXV on Japan's accession to GATT was made known on 10th September, and since then there have been indications that the possibility of taking discriminatory action against imports from countries which have invoked Article XXXV, has been under consideration by the Japanese Government.

Some gesture towards liberalisation of our policy on trade with Japan seems to be urgently called for.

4. It would be appreciated if you would give us your views on a possible date and scope for the informal talks as soon as possible.

1 The memorandum was drafted by External Affairs Cadet John Piper, who was asked for 'a stiffish memo ... saying ... that we consider it a matter of political moment that we should be able to give [the Japanese] a clear indication of a date when the talks should commence'.

[AA : A1838/283, 759/1/7, ii]