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Wednesday, 25 July 1906

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister of External Affairs) - - 'By way of explanation, I desire to say that the authority for the statement I made recently was the writer of an article in Dun's International Review upon the " Effect of Subsidies on Merchant Shipping." The article was written by the editor of a leading English shipping journal, who points out -

All the nations which are not engaged in actively subsidizing their merchant fleets occupy the position of being both large importers and. exporters of cargo, and the key to the situation is found in the fact that their vessels earn money on both the homeward and outward voyages. On the other hand, countries like the United States, which are practically self-contained, so far as manufacturing is concerned, and whose enormous agricultural resources enable them to sell their bulky farm products at rates which defy competition, do not require to import articles which demand plenty of ship room, and the difficulty of finding a single commercial centre abroad to which this consideration does not apply, naturally causes the American capitalists to hesitate before investing their money in shipping.

That statement, dealing chiefly with quantities, is supposed to be refuted by the mere recital of values taken from tables published in the Statesman's Year-Book, 1906, which it is expressly stated are compiled " for convenience of reference, not for the purpose of comparison." According to this table, the imports into the United States for 1904 were valued at £232,815,220, whilst the exports during the same period were valued at £310,780,130. That is only values.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Prime Minister characterized the imports as trifling.

Mr DEAKIN - So they are by comparison, in so far as they are not of a bulky character.


Mr DEAKIN - Will the honorable member say that the goods we import compare in bulk, and therefore in extent of freight, with our meat and various other articles of export ?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Iron pipes and furniture, which figure among our imports, are very bulky.

Mr DEAKIN - I have quoted my authority, who is the editor of an important shipping paper, and shows a thorough acquaintance with his subject. The total showing the value of the imports conveys no idea as to the shipping requirements of such goods.

Mr McWilliams - The Statesman's Y ear-Book is a standard work of reference.

Mr DEAKIN - Undoubtedly it is, but it holds out the special warning that the tables are compiled for reference, and not for comparison. The statement I have quoted was made toy a gentleman evidently acquainted with the subject, and no mere monetary figures can be regarded as affording any guide as to the extent to which the carrying capacity of the ships conveying the imports is affected. The imports to the United States are very largely expensive luxuries.

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