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Wednesday, 13 October 1971
Page: 2240

Mr CONNOR - I direct a question to the Prime Minister and in so doing preface it by reminding him that in the absence of an Australian counterpart of the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry to regulate savage internal Australian producer competition, Japan now imports Australian coal at $12.80 a ton but pays more than $20 a ton for a similar type coal from the United States of America. Is the Prime Minister aware of the squeeze play in the recently released Japanese MITI statement suggesting a curtailment of Japanese imports of coal, minerals and other raw materials from Australia? Will he intervene with appropriate guidelines through a MITI type instrumentality to ensure that Australian coal is sold at world parity prices and accepted in quantities already contracted, thereby calling the Japanese bluff? Will he also ensure that all future contracts with Japan are denominated in Australian instead of United States dollars?

Mr McMAHON - I do not know of the statement mentioned by the honourable gentleman but 1 will discuss the matters he has raised with my colleague, the Minister for National Development, and I will let the honourable member have some comments about them later.

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