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Tuesday, 12 September 1972
Page: 1242

Mr Grassby asked the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to a statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Mr Geoffrey Rippon, in the British House of Commons on 15th May 1972, regarding transitional arrangements for Australia on Britain's entry into the European Economic Community.

(2)   If so, did Mr Rippon state that there are safeguards in Protocol 16, and there are satisfactory arrangements which have been developed for consultations with the Australian Government and the Australian people.

(3)   Is the view expressed by Britain's chief negotiator shared by the Australian Government.

(4)   Will he say how the Protocol and the consultations to which Mr Rippon refers will work.

(5)   Will he indicate how the satisfactory arrangements referred to by the British negotiator are satisfactory in regard to the Australian canned fruits industry which was established largely to serve the British market within the terms of the Ottawa Agreement and continued under the Anglo-Australian Trade Agreement which will be abrogated by Britain on entry into the European Economic Community on 1st January 1973.

(6)   How many preferences (a) are extended to Britain, (b) are to be terminated on 1st January 1973, (c) do we receive from Britain and (d) will be continued after 1st January 1973.

Mr Anthony - The following is provided in answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   Protocol No. 16 of the Treaty of accession (commonly referred to as the safeguard clause) becomes applicable with effect from 1st January 1973. lt is impossible to say, however, in advance of particular problems arising how effective the Protocol can be in safeguarding the agricultural trade interests of third countries. lt has, however, been recognised both in Britain and in the Communities that enlargement of the EEC could give rise to problems for countries such as Australia, at least for some products, and that remedial action could and would be taken to deal with such problems if they were to arise.

(4)   and (5) There has been and will continue to be discussions between Australia on the one hand and Britain and the Communities on the other concerning problems likely to arise for individual products and the possible means of dealing with them in terms of Protocol No. 16.

(6)   Preferences exchanged between Britain and Australia will continue until the United Kingdom/Australia Trade Agreement (UKATA) is terminated. Britain will formally join the EEC on 1st January 1973. However under the timetable for transition to full membership, Britain will apply the complete mechanisms of the Common Agricultural Policy from 1st February 1973. Britain could not apply the Common Agriculture Policy and still maintain her obligations under UKATA. The future of British preferences in Australia will be determined at the time by the Australian Government. Against this background the answers to the questions are:

(a)   and (b) In 1970-71 imports into Australia from Britain which received a margin of preference are estimated to have been valued at about $750m or 85 per cent of total imports from Britain. $570m or 65 per cent of total imports into Australia from Britain entered dutyfree.

(c)   and (d) In 1970 imports into Britain from Australia which received a margin of preference were valued at $A2l4m or 38 per cent of total imports from Australia. However, almost all Australian goods entered Britain free of duty.

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