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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 46

(Question No. 1537)

Senator Jones asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade, upon notice, on 19 November 1986:

(1) What is the current (a) level; and (b) balance of trade between Australia and New Zealand.

(2) What was the (a) level; and (b) balance of trade in the financial years 1984-85 and 1985-86.

(3) What trade negotiations are currently taking place or are contemplated between the two countries, and what commodities are involved.

Senator Button —The Minister for Trade has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) and (2) The information sought is outlined in the following table:




4 months




($A million)

Exports to New Zealand




Imports from New Zealand




Balance of Trade




Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

(3) Australia-New Zealand trade is covered by the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement, which provides for the progressive removal of most tariffs by 1988 and of all tariff quotas and quantitative restrictions on trans-Tasman trade by 1995 at the latest. At the time the CER Trade Agreement was negotiated, finalisation of liberalisation arrangements for a limited number of products, including some which are subject to industry plans in both countries, was temporarily deferred. However, in accordance with the Agreement requirements, liberalisation arrangements for all but four product categories have now been agreed.

The product categories for which liberalisation programs remain to be negotiated or formally concluded are tobacco and tobacco products, writing instruments, steel and apparel.

Further arrangements for completing liberalisation of trans-Tasman trade in motor vehicles and components, which are subject to transitional arrangements, are to be determined when New Zealand reviews its motor vehicle policy towards the end of 1988. In addition the current CER arrangements for footwear are to be the subject of discussion in 1987 to determine the scope for accelerating the current liberalisation arrangements in view of new global arrangements in both countries. The arrangements applying to tyres are also to be reviewed by Australia in 1987 in light of New Zealand's revised Tyre Industry Development Plan.

As provided for in the Agreement there is to be a general review of the CER Agreement in 1988.