258 Telegram from New Zealand High Commission in Canberra to Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Canberra, 17 November 1982

No 3336. CONFIDENTIAL IMMEDIATE

NAFTA/CVD Timber

Further to High Commissioner's telephone call to the Hon Hugh Templeton. High Commissioner called on the Rt Hon J D Anthony, who was attended by Mr Lind, and made the following points:

  1. That the Australian action imposing cash securities under Customs Notice was not in conformity with the standard practice laid down under GATT as there had been no consultations or provision of information to the New Zealand authorities, and made the further point that in his opinion, such notice was void ab initio because of these deficiencies.
  2. That the imposition of cash securities against the remaining 37 New Zealand exporters would be most harmful to the negotiations presently being carried out at top level by Mr Walker of New Zealand Forest Products and could end up with a most inimical attitude from New Zealand exporters.
  3. That if Australia's present techniques were persevered with, there was a possibility of a New Zealand application to the GATT.

Having heard [m]y submissions, Mr Anthony asked Mr Lind if there was perhaps an error in the Australian procedure. Lind replied that the Australians were well versed in NAFTA dumping procedures and perhaps not so well versed in GATT procedures, but stated that Hayes of Industry and Commerce had acted in good faith after advice.

Mr Anthony pointed out that he felt that initially the New Zealand timber interests had not realised the seriousness of their failing to reach agreement with their Australian counterparts. The High Commissioner pointed out that in fact the Australian industries delegation to New Zealand had been badly briefed and actually had as the basis of their submissions that export incentives should be phased out from 1/1/83. Upon their arrival they found this was impossible and an impasse resulted.

Mr Anthony pointed out that he was most anxious that industry should again talk to industry. It was then suggested that it was vital that Australia and New Zealand should confer and urgently on procedures to be adopted under NAFTA dumping and GATT in the future and he suggested that there should be a meeting at the earliest possible moment of representatives from each country, to meet in Australia, and he suggested Monday 22 November as being a suitable date. It was proposed that the Australians would field four officials, including two from Industries and Commerce and he left it to New Zealand to nominate an equivalent number of officials.

  1. I asked for an assurance that in the interim no cash securities would be invoked against the remaining 37 New Zealand exporters and stressed that Mr Justice Lockhart's judgment of Tuesday last was very superficial in regard to their inclusion and said equity and good conscience should prevail. Anthony replied that he could give no assurance on this matter and he would await the outcome of the proposed meeting of officials.

He again stressed the urgency of such a meeting for a full and frank discussion. I informed Mr Anthony that Mr Peacock, by the telephone, had suggested he had in mind a review of the present legislation which would have the effect of taking such a review away from the courts.

I intimated that that would only leave New Zealand with recourse to GATT. Mr Lind indicated that a way should be found to avoid this procedure and mentioned the delight of the EEC authorities if such a procedure ever had to be adopted.

  1. Would appreciate your advice in due course as to the names of the New Zealand team and their proposed times of arrival. On receipt we shall immediately arrange accommodation.
  2. Grateful your comments.

[ABHS 950/Box 1228, 40/4/2 Part 5 Archives New Zealand/Te Whare Tohu Tuhituhinga 0 Aotearoa, Head Office, Wellington]