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Thursday, 14 May 1936

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - The proposal under this item is for the deletion of the deferred duties which appear under the Customs Tariffs 1933. Since the 24th September, 1932, the importation of plain clear sheet glass has been prohibited, except with the consent of the Minister for Trade and Customs. Under cover of this prohibition, certain importations have been permitted. The arrangement now obtaining, consequent upon the trade agreement with Belgium, is that of the Australian demand of 7,500,000 square feet of sheet glass per annum, the local manufacturers are assured of 60 per cent., and 50 per cent. of any demand in excess of 7,500,000 square feet The remaining portion of the demand was offered to overseas countries in the form of an import quota based on the percentage of the market supplied by each country during the three-year period ended the 30th June, 1930. This arrangement commenced on the 1st November, 1934, concurrently with the operation of the trade agreement with Belgium. During the first year ended the 31st October, 1933, the local manufacturers supplied 9,194,000 square feet - 75 per cent. of the total demand of 12,133,000 square feet. The remainder of the demand consisted of 2,939,000 square feet of glass admitted at rates of 2a. per 100 square feet, British preferential tariff, and 4s. general tariff. In the first year during which this arrangement operated, the local manufacturers supplied a much greater percentage of the demand than that to which ordinarily they would have been entitled. It is not reasonable to assume, however, that this position will obtain in the second quota year. It is sufficient to say, however, that while the prohibition and the quota arrangements continue to operate, the local manufacturer will be assured of a substantial share of the Australian market. The Government takes the view that, during the currency of the present arrangements, there are no grounds for the maintenance in the tariff of the provision for deferred duties. In the event of the import quota in respect of plain clear sheet glass terminating, the local manufacturer will be assured of his market, as the prohibition of imports will, undoubtedly, be maintained until some other form of safeguard is promulgated.

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