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Thursday, 19 May 1960

Mr Cairns (YARRA, VICTORIA) s asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that a director of the Soviet Export Commission recently visited Australia?

2.   Did this Soviet official offer oil for sale at prices lower than those at which oil is supplied to Australia at present?

3.   What were the prices quoted by the Soviet official?

4.   At what prices is oil supplied to Australia at present?

Mr McEwen - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   Yes. Mr. I. Fedorov, a representative of the Soviet Foreign Trade Corporation, which exports crude oil and various oil products, visited Australia recently.

2.   Mr. Fedorovvisited Australia in a business capacity and made his own contacts with representatives of oil companies. As in the case of other visiting businessmen, the question of prices would be a matter for private negotiation. The Government was not represented at discussions Mr. Fedorov had with oil industry representatives and is not aware of the prices he quoted.

3.   See answer to question 2.

4.   There are considerable differences in the f.o.b. prices of crude oil imported by local refineries due to such factors as quality variations in crude oils from different countries of origin. The sources of crude oil imports into Australia during 1958-59 together with quantities and f.o.b. values as published by the Commonwealth Statis- tician in the 1958-59 Oversea Trade Bulletin are shown in the following table: -


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