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Tuesday, 23 September 1958

Mr McMAHON - I am glad to say that Australian frozen beef is selling on the United Kingdom market at about ls. per lb. sterling more than it was bringing at this time last year. That is about 26 pence, sterling, per lb. for top quality hindquarters. As to what is being done, I think the honorable gentleman will know that that is largely a matter for the producers themselves. Considerable quantities of Australian beef are being sent to the United Kingdom market, and the receipts into store so far this season are fairly large. As to the long-term prospects, the honorable gentleman will know of the benefits of the fifteenyear meat agreement, and that for the next three years, from 1st October, 1958, our minimum prices are guaranteed. Negotiations are now being continued to provide for prices under that agreement for the following three years from 1st October, 1961.

Recently I read a statement by the Argentine Ambassador in the United Kingdom in which he said that because, during the Peronista régime, the number of breeding cattle in the Argentine had been reduced to very small proportions, the United Kingdom could expect small quantities of beef to be exported to that market over the next few years and that, in the long term, the population of the Argentine would grow to such an extent that the home market would absorb most of the production. It should be observed that if this happened, it could help to ensure a profitable market in the United Kingdom for other suppliers. I think the honorable gentleman has well said that the law of supply and demand will govern this question. We have some hopes now that supplies will be much lower than had been thought a year ago.

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