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Thursday, 6 March 1980
Page: 620

Senator KILGARIFF - I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. In June 1979 it was indicated that the Australian Government was considering a report which examined methods to overcome the lack of communication and liaison between the Taiwanese and the Australian governments. Considering the ever-developing trade between the two countries and the arrangements that existed prior to the recognition of mainland China, is the Government now in a position to indicate what action, if any, will be taken to normalise diplomatic relations with Taiwan similar to those with the European Economic Community countries and the United States, to overcome the problems of communication in regard to trade, issuing of visas, and so on?

Senator CARRICK -I believe Senator Kilgariff is referring to an answer given by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on 5 June 1979. In that answer no reference was made to the Government considering a report on the question of representation in Taiwan. However, I provided information in an answer on 20 February to a question on notice asked by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. In that answer I indicated that the Department of Trade and Resources recently consulted a number of Australian enterprises which have an interest in trade with Taiwan to ascertain the views of the commercial sector in Australia on the extent to which the absence of any form of trade representation in Taiwan has adversely affected the commercial sector's ability to take advantage of opportunities for increasing trade between Australia and the province of Taiwan. I believe this may be what Senator Kilgariff is referring to as a report. I add that no government having diplomatic relations with Peking has informal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. A country either has diplomatic relations or it does not. It is true that the United States of America has established under legislation a commercial corporation in Taiwan known as the American Institute to maintain commercial and other nongovernment contacts with Taiwan. These include the administration of procedures for the entry of Taiwanese visitors and the continued operation of commercial and other understandings. I will give further details to the honourable senator.

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