92 Press Statement By Menzies

17th November, 1954

CANBERRA

Australian-Japanese Trade The Prime Minister announced today that the Japanese Government had been informed that Australia was willing to examine in discussions with representatives of the Government of Japan the mutual problems arising from the trading relations between the two countries.

The Prime Minister said:

'For some time the Government has been giving careful consideration to the question of our trading relations with Japan, and the proposed talks should be of benefit to both countries.

The Japanese Government had asked some time ago for trade discussions with Australia and concurrently Japan's application for membership to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was before the Contracting Parties to that Agreement.

Australia had been invited to enter into tariff negotiations with Japan under the G.A.T.T. as part of the preliminaries for Japan's accession to the Agreement. Whilst the proposed trade talks with Japan would bear the G.A.T.T. position in mind, Australia would have to continue to reserve its position on the application of the G.A.T.T. principles to Australian trade relations with Japan.

There is still much uncertainty as to the outcome of the review of G.A.T.T. now taking place at Geneva, and as said in the House of Representatives on September 28 last the results of that review will be one of the factors in determining our attitude to Japanese accession to the G.A.T.T.'

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