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Wednesday, 24 November 1965

Mr McEWEN - Mr. Speaker,I do not think the question really lends itself to a precise answer. But there is a point that I have made in speaking in the House, overseas and in public places. It is this: We have a trade treaty with the United Kingdom under which reciprocal preferential provisions are made. The view of this Government is that we would prefer to stay with the present trade treaty with the United Kingdom than that either Australia or the United Kingdom should chance what advantages might come out of the Kennedy Round negotiations. We have made our position quite clear in that regard.

On the other hand, the United Kingdom has decided to offer to join the Kennedy Round talks on the basis of an offer of a 50 per cent, cut in all its tariffs with very few exceptions. If this offer should proceed to a conclusion on that basis, the end result for Australia would be that many of our preferences in Britain would be cut in half because we have duty free entrance to

Britain and a tariff cut of 50 per cent, would affect the tariff imposed on our competitors' goods. In those circumstances there would be an imbalance in the trade relationship in the reciprocal provisions as between the United Kingdom and Australia. We would have to try to make good, in negotiations -with other parties, the disadvantages we would suffer.

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