74 Ministry of Foreign Affairs Internal Note1

Wellington, 5 November 1979

Australia/New Zealand Economic Relations

  1. The following is our record of the additional points proposed for study which are not covered in the 'Statement of Understanding'2 between Permanent Heads:

    Public Position Paper

  2. It was proposed by Mr Henderson, Permanent Head of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, that there should be a joint position paper worked up by the two Departments of Foreign Affairs which would attempt to set out for public consumption the guiding principles both countries were following in the examination of a closer economic relationship. This document would be useful in preparing the ground and giving the 'correct signals' to other countries in the region and beyond for whatever new relationship might be agreed.

    Preservation of Third Country Trade Levels

  3. The view was expressed by the leader of the Australian delegation (Mr Scully) that the guiding principle governing trade relations with third countries in the region should be that trade at existing levels would be preserved, together with an allowance for normal growth expectations. It was suggested that this principle be referred to a joint working party for further consideration.

    Harmonisation of Developing Country Preference Schemes

  4. It was also suggested by Mr Scully that a further subject for examination by a joint working party would be the question of possible harmonisation of the two countries' respective developing country preference schemes. If they could not be brought together it would be important to reach an agreed understanding that the two separate schemes were to be administered for the benefit of developing countries and not as an avenue for trade interests in either country to take advantage of each other.

    Joint Marketing and Trade Policy Formulation

  5. It was proposed by Mr Scully that a working group be formed to explore in further detail the question of joint approaches on access questions, on joint marketing of primary products and other trade policy topics that might be susceptible to a combined approach. Mr Scully noted that although Australian studies showed that the concept of joint approaches in these areas was full of fishhooks, he felt nonetheless that there was some merit in the idea. He felt sure that Australia and New Zealand working together could do a little better than either country on its own.

    Canberra Pact

  6. Mr Scully noted that his delegation had talked about the 1944 Canberra Agreement on their way over to New Zealand. Many of its provision now seemed irrelevant and he proposed therefore that both sides look at the possibility of a new umbrella type agreement. At this stage Mr Scully thought that it would be premature to suggest that a working group be set up to examine the idea. Both sides could think about it and come together in a month or two's time after considering whether it should be pursued and if so, whether it had sufficient merit to stand on its own feet or whether it could only sensibly be considered against the background of a closer economic relationship.

[ABHS 950/Boxesl221-1226, 40/411 Part 22 Archives New Zealand/Te Whare Tohu Tuhituhinga O Aotearoa, Head Office, Wellington]