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Tuesday, 30 April 1968

Mr SINCLAIR - I am advised that as from 1st January this year, under the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement, there has been a complete lifting of the duty originally imposed on imports of lamb from New Zealand into Australia. I have been given the figures relating to imports of lamb over the last 3 years. In 1966 the figure was about 5 tons; in 1967 it was 121 tons; and in 2 months of this year something like 44 tons of New Zealand lamb have been imported. As the total Australian production of lamb is of the order of 220,000 tons it will be seen that the quantity of New Zealand lamb imported into Australia is relatively insignificant.

However I can assure the honourable member, who has, I know, constituents who are concerned about the effect that this trade might have on their own production, that under the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement there is an opportunity for discussion and consultation between the Governments concerned where it is established that an industry is being adversely affected as a result of the reduction of duty under the Agreement. If this should occur in the case of lamb then the same protective devices would apply as they would in any other instance. At this stage, in view of the relatively insignificant quantities of New Zealand lamb that have come into Australia, it might be hard to establish damage to the Australian industry.

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