196 Extracts from Cablegram from Department of Foreign Affairs to Posts

Canberra, 10 June 1982

O.CH040879 RESTRICTED

Australia- New Zealand: Closer Economic Relations (CER)

With the public release by the Australian and New Zealand Governments of a report outlining proposals for new arrangements to cover trade under a closer economic relationship (CER), departments would like to ensure that posts accredited to the governments of our major regional and other trading partners possess adequate background material on the contents and implications of CER.

[matter omitted]

  1. One of the guidelines was that any new arrangement should be outward looking. The expectation is that a sustained expansion of trans-Tasman trade under CER would lead to the more effective use of each country's resources and provide a stronger basis for expansion of trade links with other countries particularly those in the region. The proposed new arrangements take full account of obligations under international and bilateral trade agreements. They related fundamentally to the treatment of Australian and New Zealand products entering trans-Tasman trade and will not require the withdrawal of any concessions applying to developing countries.
  2. Governments in South Pacific Island developing countries are currently being briefed jointly at senior official level by Australian and New Zealand representatives. These briefings, which take account of New Zealand's special interests and concerns in the South Pacific region, should allay any concern that a CER might have adverse consequences for their trade including exports to New Zealand. Apart from the South Pacific it is not intended that briefings be initiated, e.g. for ASEAN of Australia's other trading partners, at this stage, particularly in view of the 'no commitment' nature of the package which has been released. New Zealand officials have given a preliminary indications that, in the case of the EC, they would see no need for a joint Australian- New Zealand briefing, the South Pacific having been a special case. We understand that New Zealand officials are likely to seek bilateral talks with the Commission and member countries to underline New Zealand's continuing need for access for its butter and sheepmeat. In general, departments believe that the material provided to posts should be adequate to handle any enquiries. It could if necessary be suggested that more detail be obtained through follow-up by missions in Canberra.

[NAA: Al838, 370/1/19/18, xxx]