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I.A.C. report -Australian citrus industry

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The Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs, Mr Ual. Fife, and the -'Minister for Primary Industry,. Mr Ian Sinclair, today announced the Government's decision on the Industries Assistance Commission's Report 0f 2 June 1978 on the .Australian Citrus Industry.

The Ministers said that the Government did not accept the Commission's view that a rate of 20% ad valorem, with a temporary bounty arrangement for orange juice should be implemented.

Accordingly, the Ministers said that the Government has decided that orange juice uould be assisted as follows:-(a) a variable tariff will be applied on and from 13 April 1979 to imported orange juice, of the amount by uhich the value

for duty,- per kilogram of the total soluble solids contained therein, is less than $2.40;

(b) the current temporary tariff of 65% uill continue to operate until the new tariff arrangement is implemented;

(c) the Government uill review operation of the system for orange juice after three years, with the Industries Assistance Commission being requested to provide a report on the matter at that time.

The new arrangement uould be monitored by the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs and its operation uould be reviewed after 12 months.

The juices of tangerines (including mandarins) and sub­ stitutable hybrids uill be dutiable at the same rate and on the same basis as orange juice.

Unsweetened lime juice uill be admitted at current rates of duty, that is free.

The duties on all other citrus juices uill remain unchanged.

Duties on citrus peels, marmalades and citrus jams, glace and canned citrus uill also remain unchanged.

All other citrus products uill be dutiable at current rates, that is free.

The Ministers also indicated that the Government had decided that all goods of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea origin covered by the Commission's report uould be admitted at minimum rates of duty.

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The Ministers added that the Government had noted the Commission's recommendation that the Fruit Industry Sugar Concession Committee (FISCC) should report to Parliament the reasons, as uell as the bases, for its decisions on minimum prices to be paid by processors for fruit. They said that the FISCC rebate system uas . included in the terms of reference of the inquiry into the sugar


The Ministers said that the Commission had also recommended that a pilot study be undertaken to assess alternative systems of payment for citrus fruit purchased for processing. The Government noted that this question had been considered by the FISCC, which που

requires a minimum total soluble solids content in Valencia oranges. Therefore, it had been decided not to act on the Commission's recommendation.

The Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs added that, in accordance with the suggestion made by the Commission, by-lau admission will not be accorded to imports of orange juice.

The Ministers said that the Government had taken its decisions after very careful and protracted consideration of all the factors concerned, both domestic and international, bearing in mind the importance of maintaining a viable Australian Citrus Industry. The Government had taken into account and given full consideration to the many representations it had received.

■Copies of the Commission's report uill be available at Australian Government Publishing Service Retail Bookshops in each of the capital cities li,n the near future.

CANBERRA, A=C.T 29 March 1979