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Deputy Prime Minister in Washington

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(Statement by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister

for Trade, Mr - J . MeEven, at a press conference in

Washington on April 17th, 1963)·

"I have not come to Washington to negotiate anything

specific. I am here because by coincidence the American

Administration felt they would like to see me and I felt I would

like to see them.

It fits together as I am on my way to London and Geneva.

Apart from the general bilateral relationship of U.S.A./

Australian trade which doesn’t raise issues that we have to

negotiate at this stage, and about which we are in constant

negotiation, the real interest is in the Ministerial G.A.T.T.

Meeting and the Kennedy Tariff Round. ■

Here we have something Australia has been talking about,

advocating for quite a few years which is to come up.

It is the point that the G.A.T.T. up to date has served

the industrial countries quite effectively, that is in inter­

national trade in industrial products which is governed by

tariffs. These have been served pretty well, whereas the items

of trade which are the agricultural and bulk commodity items have

not been protected by G.A.T.T. arrangements.

The upshot is that countries like Australia which depend

on exchange earnings from export of agricultural items and the

bulk commodities generally, by and large, have not had an

equitable experience, and nearly all these countries are

suffering from adverse balance of trade problems

This is now not only recognised, but on United States

initiative, it is to come up for discussion.

We expect in due course negotiation in the arena of the

G.A.T.T. and to give this a strong prospect of success, the

United States Administration is advancing its proposal that


■ industrial tariffs should be reduced in the interests of

freer trade, and stipulates quite clearly, that this is on

the understanding that agriculture vail be appropriately

dealt with at the same time not just in respect of tariffs

on agricultural items, but especially, in connection with such

things as subsidies that agriculture faces»

This has been pretty much our theme for 10 years and

I welcome it, and I come here to say I want to co-operate in

full with the U.S. Administration on this issue of getting

arrangements for agriculture in world trade which are fair.

In the sair.e context it is pretty hartening to

recall that when the U.K. was an applicant to join the common

market, when agricultural policies were under discussion, the

Six and the U.K. reached an agreement and made an announcement

that it would be their objective to contribute to bringing

about international commodity arrangements designed to give

assured trading prospects to the countries exporting these

items. .

So we now have the conjunction of the United States,

United Kingdom and the European common market countries all

having identified this as a problem and undertaking to devote

themselves to resolving it. '

While here, I have pointed out that while Australia

is not an exporter to any important extent of manufactured

goods it has manufacturing industries which are of key

importance to Australia.

Most of our workforce is employed in, or in the

servicing of, manufacturing industries, and in relation to

our highest policy expectations of building up our

population with the aid of migration we look to stability in

our manufacturing industries to provide job opportunities on

the basis of increased population.

I have made this quite clear and feel it is


- 3 -

* It is an aspect of the line of thinking that if we

are to have allies in this world, there has got to be evidence

of self help and of helping others, and in a big country with

a small population, the build up of population and of industry

. is quite critical to this objective.

It is understood and appreciated.· '

. I have discussed these issues with Mr. Averell

Harriman. Today I have had a very full discussion with Mr.

Christian Herter and later separately I had a similar

discussion with Mr. George Ball, Mr, Herter, of course is

named as the principal negotiator and he no doubt is working

with Mr. Ball. '

Later I am seeing the Secretary of State, Mr, Dean

Rusk, and on Friday I am seeing The President.

. From here, I go to Canada to meet the new Prime

Minister, Mr. Lester Pearson, and his Government, then go on

■ to London for the conference of Commonwealth Trade Ministers*

I will have separate talks with the British Government before

going to the Ministerial G.A.T.T. meeting in Geneva,·

Overall I have been making it clear in Washington

. that the Australian desire is to work with the' U.S.

Administration on these issues..

19th April, 1963 36/63T

In answer to questions Mr, McEwen said he was

reassured by the American, attitude which showed a complete

comprehension of the Australian scene and the relevance of

what was important to Australia,

He also said that although the proposals for

agriculture were stated very broadly their objectives

would fulfil Australia’s expectation of a predictable

stability. He pointed out that Australia held the view

quite strongly that the overall objective of stability

could only be usefully approached on a commodity by

commodity basis.

Asked if he had seen any encouragement on the

possibility of Americans reducing their subsidies on

agricultural products.; Mr, McEwen replied that although

he had not been discussing the American domestic scene .

obviously if there was to be an attempt to deal with the

non-tariff obstacles to commodity trade then in every country

where there were agricultural subsidies these would have to

be looked at.


Friday, 19th April, 1963 36/63T