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Thursday, 25 September 1958

Mr TOWNLEY (DENISON, TASMANIA) (Minister for Supply) - I welcome the right honorable gentleman's question, because the Government has associated itself with this matter. I said in the House yesterday and the day before in reply to questions, that the Government was doing everything in its power to cushion the effect of the recent decision by the United States of America. A report appeared in the Sydney press this morning to the effect that this delegation was on the way to the Far East.

Dr Evatt - Not on its way, but to start next month.

Mr TOWNLEY - We have been aware of this trade promotion effort by private industry, and the Department of Trade has assisted and co-operated with the industry to the extent that, although this enterprise was privately initiated, the department is handling the trade promotion side of it. Officers of the department will precede the industrialists, and the department will handle the publicity and contact arrangements for the mission in that part of the world. It should not be forgotten that our trade with Communist China and the Far East has increased dramatically in the last few years. Last year our trade with the mainland of China was worth about £10,000,000^ and there is a tendency for that trade to increase. That the people in the metal industry have reacted to the bad news from America in the way that they have is quite typical of them. The American import cuts have not disturbed the industry to any disastrous extent. It has not panicked'. It is. a strong, virile and wellmanaged, industry and, as one would expect, when the American market closed, those connected with the industry looked around immediately for other markets. They will, no doubt, make up the loss in due course.

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