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Thursday, 10 June 1926

Senator CRAWFORD (Queensland) (Honorary Minister) . - I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to make sub-item (a) read as follows: - "(a) (1) Clocks, partly or wholly of wood, ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 45 per cent.

(2)   Clocks, n.e.i.; Opera, Field, and Marine Glasses ; Pedometers ; Pocket Counters and the like, ad val., British, free; intermediate, 15 per cent.; general, 20 per cent.

(3)   (a) Wristlet Watches, partly or wholly of precious metals and parts thereof, n.e.i., ad. val., British, 10 per cent. ; intermediate, 20 per cent.; general, 30 per cent.

(6)   Watches and Chronometers, n.e.i., Time Registers and Detectors, ad val., British, free; intermediate, 15 per cent., general, 20 per cent.

(4)   Watch movements, n.e.i., as prescribed by departmental by-laws, British, free; intermediate, free; general, free.

The object of this request is to restore the 1921 tariff rates on wristlet watches, partly or wholly of precious metals and parts thereof, n.e.i., and to restore the condition of entry of watch movements at concessional rates. Thisis necessary in order that the manufacturers of watch-cases in Australia may not lose the small protectionthey they haveunder the 1921 tariff. This is one of the items where the Government considered that a reduction of duty would be of considerable benefit to the community in general, and would have the effect of a reduction in revenue amounting to approximately £90,000. It was originally proposed that clocks and watches from Great Britain should be free of duty, but as the making of wooden clock-cases in Australia is an industry of some magnitude, after the introduction of the tariff in another place certain modifications were made in respect of clocks partly or wholly of wood. The 1921 tariff rates were restored, and I am now asking that the 1921 rates on wristlet watches partly or wholly of precious metal and parts thereof, n.e.i., be restored. It has transpired, since the introduction of this tariff, that certain Australian firm's are making wristlet watch-cases out of precious metals, and the Government does not desire to deprive them of the small protection they had under the 1921 tariff. Watch movements were admitted under the 1921 tariff, British free, and general 15 per cent., under departmental by-laws. These by-laws prescribed that the watch movements admitted should be inserted in Australian-made watch-cases in which they were to be sold. However, practically the whole of the movements used in wristlet watches come from foreign countries, and no benefit would be bestowed on Great Britain by retaining the general tariff rate of 15 per cent, which, as a matter of fact, only served to penalize the local manufacturer of watchcases. It is, therefore, proposed that the 1921 tariff rates on wristlet watches partly or wholly of precious metal should be retained subject to the same conditions as to the free entry of watch movements as was prescribed under the 1921 tariff, thus preventing an importer obtaining movements of foreign origin free of duty and inserting them in cases' other than of Australian manufacture.

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