135 Cabinet Decision 203

21st May, 1956


Submission No. 174-Trade Negotiations with Japan [1]

Cabinet agreed that trade negotiations be entered into with Japan on the basis that:-

(1) Australia seek commitments by Japan to safeguard our export interests in her market, e.g. in tariff treatment, import licensing treatment, her internal economic policies on major Australian commodities (wool, wheat and barley), and opportunity of prior consultation in respect of proposed receivals of aid or surplus primary commodities from U.S.A. which might prejudice Australian trade interests;

(2) subject to Australia's retaining full freedom to safeguard Australian industry or established trade of the U.K. or other suppliers to Australia from a disruptive volume of imports from Japan, Australia be prepared to consider accepting commitments to extend most-favoured-nation treatment to Japan in tariff matters, and (subject to currency considerations) the same import licensing treatment as is extended to non-dollar countries generally;

(3) the Customs Tariff (Industries Preservation) Act be amended to enable emergency duties to be applied to the extent necessary to control low-cost imports from Japan so as to avoid serious damage to Australian industry or established patterns of trade.

Cabinet appointed Sir Arthur Fadden, Mr Casey and Sir Philip McBride as a committee of reference for the Minister for Trade to keep informed and to consult as necessary during the course of negotiations.

Cabinet invited the Minister for Trade:

(1) to inform other Commonwealth countries of the Government's intention to enter into negotiations;

(2) to make a public announcement at an appropriate time.

1 Document 130.

[AA : A 1838/283, 759/1/7, iv]