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Australia/New Zealand consultative committee on trade -Ministerial meeting



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FOR PRESS.

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AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE

ON TRADE - MINISTERIAL MEETING. .

(Joint Ministerial Statement) ■

The Australian and New Zealand Trade Ministers, the

Rt. Hon. John McEwen, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, and ~

the Hon. J.R. Marshall, Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand,

announced today at the conclusion of a meeting of the Australia/

New Zealand Consultative Committee on Trade that the meeting

had provided a valuable opportunity for a full discussion of

mutual problems. In their discussions the Ministers covered

a wide range of questions arising from the trading relations

between the two countries and exchanged/Olews on international

trade matters which are to be discussed at the forthcoming

Commonwealth and international conferences on trade matters.

The Ministers examined in particular tre ids in trade

between their two countries which had led to a growing imbal­

ance. They considered measures which might be adopted to

■encourage an expansion of trade to the mutual benefit of both

countries and to check the trend towards a widening trade gap.

The Ministers agreed to establish without delay a

Joint Standing Committee to review and study the trade between

the two countries with a view to submitting, as soon as prac­

ticable, proposals for consideration by Governments

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for a free trade area in forest products and other items suit­

able for inclusion in a free trade arrangement either from the

outset or subsequently. ·

. The joint study would, at this stage, be without

commitment by either Government and would have regard to

international implications and the domestic considerations

for each country.

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While it was noted that a high proportion of the

trade between Australia and New Zealand already enters the

other country free of customs duties, the Ministers also noted

that each country would wish to exclude certain commodities

from such a study and that therefore a comprehensive free trade

area was not practicable "at the present time. Mr. McEwen said

that so far as Australia was concerned there were certain

products (for example dairy produce and lamb) which it would

not be possible to include in this negotiation. Mr. Marshall

noted that as the development of many industries was at a less

advanced stage in New Zealand than in Australia, there would

be a number of industries (particularly those of recent

establishment or where there was a known potential) which

could not be brought within the ambit of this present study.

Ministers also examined problems related to anti­

dumping action on the part of either country - that is the

levying of special duties when the products of either country

are dumped in the markets of the other and cause material in­

jury to producers in that country.

Ministers reached agreement in principle that in

cases where either Australia or New Zealand considered that

the products of the other were being imported into its mar­

kets at dumped prices, no action under the anti-dumping

legislation of the importing country should be taken for a

period of up to 60 days, to allow consultations between the

authorities of the two countries to take place. If no agree­

ment were reached■within this period the normal anti-dumping

procedures could then be applied. Appropriate Ministers, of

both Governments would meet as soon as possible to enter into

a formal agreement .along these lines. ■

Ministers considered also the problems of quarantine

restrictions on the movement of animals, animal products and

plant products between Australia and New Zealand. They noted

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the vital importance to both countries of preventing the

introduction of serious animal and plant diseases from which

they were now free.

With a view to reducing to a minimum problems

associated with those safeguards, Ministers considered that

a Joint Technical Committee on Plant and Animal Quarantine

should be established. Such a Committee should meet when­

ever necessary to consider problems which might arise re­

garding the importation of animal or animal and plant, pro­

ducts from either country, but not less frequently than once

each year, for the purpose of a review of the restrictions

applied by each country.

Ministers agreed that the appropriate officials of

the two countries should meet as soon as possible to discuss

the formation and terms of reference of such a Committee.

Ministers also, discussed the problem of agricul­

tural exporting countries and the trading policies of the

other major trading partners in the context of the forth­

coming overseas conferences, including the Meeting of Com­

monwealth Trade Ministers, the Ministerial Meeting under

the General Agreement for Tariffs and Trade and the pre­

parations being made in the United Nations for a World

Trade Conference. A large area of agreement was evident

on a common approach to many of these current issues.

CANBERRA, A.C.T.

11th April, 1963 35/63T