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Commonwealth Sugar Agreement



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FOR PRESS

COi-UJONWEALTH S UGAR AGREEMENT

(STATEMENT BY THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER

FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY, MR. J . T.ZcEWEN )

The successful conclusion of the review of the

Commonwealth Sugar Agreement provided the Australian sugar

industry with an assured market in the United Kingdom until

1974 for 335,000 tons annually at a price of ZStg. 43/10/-per ton f.o.b. This tonnage was, of course, additional

to Australia's export quota under the International Sugar

Agreement recently negotiated in Geneva.

Mr. McEwen was commenting today in Canberra on

the outcome of the C.S.A. negotiations which have been

proceeding in London for several weeks.

Mr. McEwen said that the negotiation of the terms

of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement was the responsibility

of the Queensland Sugar Board acting on behalf of the sugar

industry. However, the undoubted benefit which the

Australian sugar industry gained from its participation in

the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement was an important factor in

the trading relationships between the two countries.

Mr. McEwen said that under the United Kingdom/

Australia Trade Agreement, British exporters continued to

receive significant preferential treatment in the

Australian tariff on a wide range of products. Australia

was Britain's largest market within the Commonwealth and her

second largest market in the world.

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Mr. McEwen said that Australia's exports to the

British market had been adversely affected by a variety of

measures related to the economic difficulties which have

confronted the U.I. for a number of years. In fact, the

value of Australia's exports to the British market had

declined by nearly 20 per cent over the past 4 years.

Mr. McEwen said that as a result of this trend

Australia had incurred a trade deficit with Britain last

year of about A250m. Britain had also enjoyed a surplus

of about $A175m. on such so-called invisible items as

shipping, insurance and dividend remittances.

Mr. McEwen said that the continuing benefits

derived by the Australian industry from the Commonwealth

Sugar Agreement helped to moderate this imbalance.

Accordingly, the outcome of the London sugar talks would

be welcomed not only by the industry and the Queensland

Government but also by the Commonwealth Government.

4 December, 1968 90/68T.

Canberra. A.C.T.