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Thursday, 8 December 1960

Mr McEWEN (MURRAY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Trade) - I am informed that the importation of goods on consignment is not a simple matter to identify from the records of either the banks or the customs authorities. The Department of Trade, Treasury officials and bank officers are interested in this matter and are watching it.

I think the first comment I should make is that the overwhelming proportion of imports are goods which are not for re-sale in the form in which they were imported. Such goods do not lend themselves to the system of importing on consignment in the same way as do the straight consumer goods. Therefore, it is not considered likely that there will be a big increase in the importation of goods either on consignment or under deferred payment conditions. There has not been any noticeable increase of importations on consignment so far as the Customs Department is able to identify this form of importing, and it does keep a close watch on these matters. I am told that, so far as it is identifiable, the increase in the importation of goods under this system is no greater proportionately than is the total increase in the volume of imports. In the judgment of the officers who have the responsibility of watching the situation, it is not considered likely that there will be a very significant increase in this system of importing.

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