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Tuesday, 16 February 1971

Senator BYRNE asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry:

(1)   What progress has been made in negotiations regarding the retention of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement with the United Kingdom, in the light of recent discussions concerning Britain's entry into the Common Market.

(2)   What would be the repercussions to the Australian industry if the Agreement were not renewed.

(3)   Is the Government considering an alternative market for Australian sugar in the event of the Agreement not being renewed.

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - The Minister for Trade and Industry has supplied the following answer:

(1)   The British Government has notified the European Communities that it will be seeking special arrangements covering Commonwealth sugar exports. It is our understanding that this aspect of the negotiations has not yet been taken up in Brussels.

(2)   The terms of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement provide for the modification of the United Kingdom's obligations under the Agreement after 1974 inthe event of British entry to the European Economic Community. The possible effect of any such action on the Australian sugar industry would depend on such factors as:

(a)   the terms and conditions laid down for British entry:

(b)   the extent to which any Australian sugar displaced from the British market could be accommodated in alternative market outlets and the realisations from such sales.

(1)   The marketing of Australian sugar is under continuous review by the Government and the industry itself.

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