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Thursday, 11 April 1957

Mr McEWEN (MURRAY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Trade) - My attention has- not been drawn to any suggestion that there has been a recent falling-off in the sales of wheat and wheat products to Indonesia, but I do not deny that that may be so. I merely say that I have no information on the point. To deal with a longer period than the last few months, Australian sales of wheat and flour to Indonesia have remained on a fairly stable basis in fact, but not without a good deal of concern to the Government and the Australian Wheat Board because, on more than one occasion, there has been a suggestion that the United States of America should make wheat or flour available to Indonesia on concessional terms and, we believed, in such quantities as would have impaired Australia's trading opportunities. After strong and prompt representations to the United States State Department whenever this situation has appeared to be imminent, arrangements have been concluded with the American Administration, and as between the American Administration and the Indonesian Government, that have avoided any diminution of Australia's normal selling opportunities for wheat to Indonesia. However, we are watching the situation very closely indeed.

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