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Australia to maintain 80% share of Japan's beef imports



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PRESS RELEASE 9 Statement By

THE AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE

CANBERRA

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE SENATOR KEN WRIEDT

Australia would maintain its traditional 80% share of Japan's beef imports when the market re-opened in June.

The Australian Minister for Agriculture, Senator Ken Wriedt, sought this assurance yesterday during talks in Canberra with the Japanese Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, Mr S. Abe. The counterpart talks followed the conclusion of the Australia-Japan Ministerial Committee Meeting.

Mr Abe said that his Government had not yet decided upon the quantity of beef to be imported under its global quota arrangement to be re-introduced in June after imports ceased in February 1974. However, Australia would maintain its share of the global quota, Mr Abe said.

At the talks Senator Wriedt pointed out the distress caused to Australian beef producers by the sudden ban on meat imports imposed by Japan in 1974. The Japanese Minister said Japan also wanted to prevent sudden disruptions to trade,

stating that the new meat stabilisation scheme, under which domestic meat prices in Japan were kept within a fixed band aimed at stabilising the meat market. He agreed with Senator Wriedt on a frequent exchange of information on Japanese market conditions and the Australian supply situation.

Mr Abe said his Government was interested in long­ term contracts for Australian wheat and feed grains, similar to a contract already signed for sugar.

On Senator wriedt's suggestion the matter will be discussed further at official level. He told the Japanese that although seasonal conditions could at times make long­ term contracts difficult to fulfil the security of such contracts would encourage Australian grain growers to boost

supplies.

Another important issue discussed between the two Ministers was the entry of Australian apples into Japan,.

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Senator Wriedt said that while Australia was making a concerted effort to meet Japan's strict quarantine require­ ments Mr Abe had made it clear yesterday that Japan, despite a low domestic crop this year, was not seeking apples from

overseas. This was discouraging for the Australian apple industry, Senator Wriedts said, but emphasised the need to develop new market outlets elsewhere. He added that a bright note was Japan's growing demand for apple juice.

Japan expected to import more juice to satisfy consumer needs and Australia would seek a share of this market. There were no quarantine problems with canned apple juice.

Canberra 4 May 1975