41 Cabinet Decision 808

13th August, 1953

Submission No. 521-Eighth Session of the Contracting Parties to G.A.T.T. [1]

Cabinet considered various issues which would arise at this session and formulated directives to the delegates as follows:-

[matter omitted]

Admission of Japan to the G.A.T.T.:-

Cabinet decided on the following course of action with regard to the admission of Japan to G.A.T.T.

Cabinet agreed that it could be made clear both locally and at the session that the Australian Government regarded the G.A.T.T. as in need of general revision. It was thought that the time of the announcement of the delegation might provide a convenient opportunity for stating this locally.

In addition, the delegation should support moves for amendment of Articles 19 and 23 which would have the effect of permitting discriminatory action more freely. It should also support the United Kingdom application for modification of the no new preference rule and present cases based on the dwindling value of specific preferences and on the ban on new preferences in favour of products of Papua and New Guinea as indicated earlier. Cabinet was of opinion that to the extent that the agreement permitted more discrimination and new preferences to be established, the problems associated with Japanese accession would be reduced.

It was thought that the United Kingdom itself should be prepared to take a lead on the matter of protection of United Kingdom interests against Japanese competition in the Australian market.

The delegation was instructed to abstain from voting on the question of Japan's accession to G.A.T.T. and to preserve the Commonwealth Government's right to use Article 35.

The government has in mind that it might be possible at a later stage to enter into bilateral negotiations with Japan which would result in an agreement more advantageous to Australia than an Australian concurrence to Japan's entry into the G.A.T.T. on terms which would oblige Australia to give Japan m.f.n. treatment.

The above course of action is to be thoroughly canvassed at the preliminary Commonwealth Conference in London. The action at Geneva may depend on the extent of agreement which can be got in London.

Cabinet indicated that Mr. Meere would be a suitable delegation leader.

1 Document 39.

[AA : A4905/1, VOLUME 19]