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Wednesday, 25 November 1959

Mr Bury y asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -

1.   When were tiles transferred from category B to category A for import licensing purposes?

2.   Why were tiles not put on a replacement basis, as were many other items in a similar position, when import licensing was recently relaxed?

3.   Did all or any group of tile importers, at the time of this relaxation, obtain an increase in their quotas for the current import licensing period?

4.   Was any differentiation made between the various groups of importers when granting any increases; if so, why?

Mr McEwen - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   On 1st January, 1953.

2.   Insufficient overseas funds were available to permit the transfer of all items to the Replacement licensing category. 3 and 4. The quotas of those " traditional " importers whose quotas were less than 120 per cent, of their imports in 1950-51, were increased to that level. This adjustment, together with the issue of special licences in some circumstances, was designed to correct a situation in which the share of total tile quotas held by many importers had declined as a result of concessions previously given to other importers.

Trade with Japan.

Mr Cope e asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -

1.   Will the Fifteenth Session of the contracting parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade be held in Tokyo during the next few weeks?

2.   If so, is it expected that at this meeting, Japan will press for recognition as a full member under the Agreement?

3.   Has Japan endeavoured to persuade Australia to abandon the use of safeguard Article XXXV. in the General Agreement which entitles this country to discriminate against Japanese trade by the use of tariffs or import quotas; if so, what was Australia's attitude?

4.   Is he in a position to indicate, at this stage, the attitude the Australian delegation will adopt in relation to Article XXXV.?

5.   If not, will he make a statement to the House on the matter before the Fifteenth Session commences?

Mr McEwen - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The Fifteenth Session of the contracting parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was held in Tokyo from 26th October to 20th November.

2.   The agenda for the session, like the agenda for previous sessions, included the question of the use of Article XXXV. of the General Agreement by a number of contracting parties in the case of Japan. Japan has continued to urge that those contracting parties cease to use Article XXXV.

3.   The trading relations between Australia and Japan are being conducted in accordance with the Australia/Japan Trade Agreement. Japan has conveyed to Australia its desire that Australia should withdraw its application of Article XXXV. In accordance with the arrangements provided for in the Trade Agreement with Japan, Australia has undertaken to enter into discussion with Japan before July, 1960, with a view to exploring the possibility and examining the basis of applying the G.A.T.T. to our mutual trade relations. In reply to Japanese representations, the Australian Government has confirmed this undertaking.

4.   At the G.A.T.T. session in Tokyo, the statement made by the Australian representative was in accordance with the position as I have just stated it.

5.   See answers to 3 and 4.

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