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Tuesday, 6 December 1938

Mr PERKINS (Eden) (Monaro- Minister for Trade and Customs) . -I can assure the honorable member that this part of the agreement was very carefully considered by Cabinet, which agreed that it would not affect the Australian trade or, if it did, to a minor degree only. The reduction of duties now proposed applies to a very limited range of handkerchiefs. The goods involved mustbe wholly or partly of machine-made lace or embroidered by multiple-needle machines, and finished with machine-made edges or hems. If the handkerchiefs contain hand-made lace, or any embroidery done by hand, they are excluded from the proposed duty under the intermediate tariff. In addition, the reduced specific duty will apply only to the special kinds of handkerchiefs described when they are of a value for duty between1s. 4d. and1s. 9½d. a dozen. When they are of a value for duty of1s. 9½d. a dozen, the ad valorem component - that is,42½ per cent. - of the intermediate tariff duty, which is that provided under the existing tariff, will apply. The range of handkerchiefs, on which it is proposed to grant a duty concession, comprises Swiss specialty lines manufactured en machines peculiar to Switzerland. A heavy Swiss export duty on these machines prevents exportation to other countries. The Government is mindful of the interests of the Australian trade, and is doing its best to guard those interests while, at the same time, attempting to increase our trade with Switzerland.

Item agreed to.

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