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Wednesday, 10 April 1957

Mr WARD (EAST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What commodities are affected by this agreement?

Mr MCEWEN - The bulk, in number, of the Australian primary products.

Mr Ward - What are the principal ones?

Mr MCEWEN - T will take the honorable member away for a private education if he wishes; I thought that he was here when I spoke last night. The provisions are for free entry for wool and wheat and practically every primary product. They also provide for preferential entry for butter, cheese and dried fruits. Of course, the honorable member for East Sydney, who is interjecting would not understand these things, but I would expect some members of his party to understand them. The United Kingdom has a clear knowledge of the interests of Australia and it has been willing to consult Australia on this matter. As 1 mentioned the other day, the core of such a European common market area would be the customs union of six countries known as the Messina Powers. There will be a meeting at Geneva this month of the representatives of the signatories of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and a senior officer of the Department of Trade will be present. At that meeting we will be careful to elicit all information that is procurable about what is intended under that agreement, already signed between six independent countries. Where that agreement impinges on the existing General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade arrangements, we will have a wider discussion to bring it clearly to the notice of all the countries which trade with these European powers and which are members of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

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