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Hyatt Hotel, Perth, 29 July 1997: transcript of doorstop [Trade figures]



TREASURER: Yes, today's trade figures show the largest surplus in Australian history. Of course it's driven by the gold sales in relation to the Reserve Bank, but exports generally were up - very strong export performance for the month. And a very positive result. So the trade figures show that Australia is now trading in a surplus. We still have a foreign debt problem of course, which grew up over a decade of the Labor Party mismanagement. But in relation to today's figures we welcome them. Good figures.

JOURNALIST: Bit ironic to be in WA when the figures come out and they do reflect that sale which people have been so critical of.

TREASURER: Oh, well it's a sale that shows that exports lifted you can't complain about exports.

JOURNALIST: So if you take away the sale of the frigate and the sale of the gold though it's still pretty good news.

TREASURER: Exports are still up 4 percent. It's good news it's a trade surplus without those one- offs and the trend figures show a rising trend in relation to our international position. So they're good figures. We welcome them. They'll probably allow us to finish the year in a better position than we thought.

JOURNALIST: So the comment you made when you sold the gold that the sale was justified, do you feel that it was an accurate comment now, it was a good comment to make?

TREASURER: Well the trade figures wasn't any of the thinking behind that. These figures don't relate to that in any way at all.