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Thursday, 29 October 1959

Mr McEWEN (MURRAY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Trade) - The honorable member and the House will be aware that, flowing from a circumstance of grave dollar currency shortage affecting the whole sterling area, we have, in this country, pursued a general policy of abating discrimination against dollar imports as the dollar availability to the sterling area has improved. We have gone a very long way indeed towards removing the discrimination against dollar imports that arose from the shortage of dollar currency. This is a policy which the Government will continue to pursue. There remains only a comparatively small area in which it operates. I am sure that the United States of America, which in the last year or so erected a very grievous barrier against Australia's opportunity to earn dollars by arbitrarily imposing a quota restriction on lead and zinc - Australia's principal dollar earners - will not feel a sense of grievance because there still remains an area in which we can operate in removing discrimination against dollar imports. I point out that the American restrictions on the import of Australian lead and zinc reduced our dollar earning capacity by 49 per cent, in one fell swoop. It is the policy of the Government to continue in the direction I have indicated, until discrimination has been eliminated.

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