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Tuesday, 9 April 1957

Mr McEWEN - The honorable member will realize on reflection, I am sure, that if it were possible to direct the officers of the Department of Trade to issue an import licence quota whenever a case was established, then, by implication, sufficient overseas exchange funds would be available to permit import licensing to be lifted altogether. The very fact that import licensing exists indicates that sufficient overseas funds are not available to satisfy all who legitimately, in the circumstances of their business, need a quota, an increased quota or a special licence. That is the very essence of the matter and the basic, unhappy fact. It is the very core of import licensing. The relaxations that have been recently announced are as great as the Government feels can safely be approved at the present time. The additional £75,000,000 of licensing money, so to speak, will be issued od the lines that were broadly indicated in public statements made by the Prime Minister and by myself. Within that amount, e sum has been set aside, as I have said in the House, for the purpose of meeting the needs of some companies which are in anomalous circumstances, such as those portrayed in principle by the honorable member in his question. There is a sum of money, and there is a policy to ensure that some of the anomalies will be adjusted, but I cannot say that any one who proves the existence of an anomaly in his case will be fixed up. If I could say that, there would be no need for us to continue import licensing - and, believe me, the Government will not continue import licensing for a day longer than is necessary.

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