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Wednesday, 10 April 1957

Mr McMAHON - A deputation of Japanese interests will visit Australia next week and meet the chairman of the Australian Meat Board, in order to discuss the purchase of Australian meat. The quantity has not been mentioned, but I did read in a newspaper that a purchase of something like 30,000 tons, valued at £6,000,000, was contemplated. I am informed by the chairman of the board that he has no actual figures in front of him and therefore cannot make any comment. An approach has already been made to the United Kingdom Government to see whether there could be some extension of the free quota of meat, but up to the present that request has not been agreed to. The fifteen-year meat agreement has been of enormous importance to the Australian meat industry because, at a time when prices - for frozen beef especially - were falling on the international market, a subsidy was payable by the United Kingdom Government. That permitted a subsidy of 3d. per lb. in the case of boned meat, and 4d. per lb. in the case of boned-out meat, to be paid to Australian frozen beef producers. I would like to stress that the fifteen-year meat agreement is regarded as of great importance by the primary producers themselves.

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