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Wednesday, 11 November 1959

Mr McEWEN - The Government has kept continuously before the Administration of the United States the views that we hold on, and the interests that are affected by the United States quota restrictions on importations of lead and zinc - particularly Australian lead and zinc. In recent years, lead has been our principal dollar earner and the very severe quota restrictions imposed by the United States have worried both the industry and the Government very much. They have been the subject of personal representations by me on two occasions in Washington and of continuous diplomatic representations. Apart from that, the lead and zinc exporting interests of the world have combined during the last year to limit the quantity of lead and zinc presented to the international market so that, by equating the supply to the demand to some extent, a profitable basis of prices might be re-established. I think we can observe, from the present London metal exchange quotas for zinc in particular, that that objective has been achieved and that a certain distance at least has been gone in respect of lead. It is possible that the international lead and zinc industry may wish to reconsider its voluntary restriction arrangements soon because those existing arrangements have resulted in a firming of the market situation.

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