76 Minutes Of The Interdepartmental Committee On Gatt

12th October, 1954

Present:

Mr Durie Prime Minister's Department Mr Hall " " "

Mr Jennings " " "

Mr Heyes Department of Trade and Customs Mr Robertson " " "

Mr Vincent " " "

Mr Warwick Smith Department of Commerce and Agriculture Mr Millwood " " "

Mr McClintock " " "

Dr Whitelaw Department of the Treasury Mr Upton Department of External Affairs Mr Hartnell Department of National Development Mr Livingston " " "

Trade Talks with Japan The committee resumed discussion on the proposed submission to Ministers on trade talks with Japan and had before it the following papers:

Introduction and background to discussions-Prime Minister's Department.

Possible types of agreement-Department of Trade and Customs.

Concessions we might seek from Japan-Department of Commerce and Agriculture.

The representatives of the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, National Development and External Affairs felt that it should be possible to find a suitable basis for an agreement and that an agreement on the lines of the Canadian example was the most attractive type to form a basis for negotiation as it would provide the most comprehensive type of agreement possible consistent with providing adequate safeguards for Australian industry. However the opinion of the representatives of the Department of Trade and Customs was that such an agreement would be almost impossible to administer and [they] felt that a more satisfactory basis would be a quota principle. The representative of the Treasury considered that it would be unwise to take any introductory step for the commencement of trade talks whilst there were any doubts as to our ability to find a basis for an agreement that would effectively safeguard our interests.

It was agreed that Prime Minister's Department should prepare a draft paper combining the three papers before the meeting taking into account the comments of the committee. The committee also agreed that the Department of Trade and Customs should prepare a list of some of the more important items which were considered vulnerable to Japanese competition and a statement on the administrative difficulties which would confront the Department if a trade agreement similar to the Canadian example were negotiated with Japan.

[AA : A609/1, 555/120/14]