140 Cabinet Sub-Committee on Trade and Employment Conference to Australian Delegation, Geneva

Cablegram T294 CANBERRA, 8 October 1947, 5.40 a.m.


Your 363 and 365. Cabinet Sub Committee gave long and earnest consideration to latest United States offers and requests and to your views on them.

Sub Committee noted with satisfaction improved responses on beef, butter and other items and appreciated position with respect to tallow and tungsten. Reduction of apple duty in months May and June desirable if it can be obtained.

The requests for further reductions in preference we enjoy on dried and canned fruit items have presented difficult problems.

The Sub Committee decisions were (1) Raisins-It was not considered that the proposals regarding raisins in the United Kingdom and prunes in Canada offset the possible dangers which might be involved at a later date in a2cent reduction on raisins to Canada. The additional 6 pence sterling per cwt. in the United Kingdom was considered most desirable but not at the price of 1 cent (7 per ton) in Canada. It was decided to adhere to the existing 1 cent reduction offer.

(2) Canned fruits-It was decided not to go below the present offer of a reduction to 12 1/2 per cent preference in the United Kingdom on canned apricots, peaches and pears.

As regards New Zealand a reduction to 12 l/2 per cent on apricots, peaches and pears would be the lowest acceptable. While pears are weakest item in this market Minister confirms his view that it is not desirable to discriminate between these three fruits.

(3) Canned Fruit Salad-Although present preference in United Kingdom probably represents only about 6 1/2per cent ad val. on recent values, Ministers favoured its retention. [1]

[matter omitted]

1 Final agreement was reached on 22 October. On the items of major concern, Australia agreed to a preferential margin of 3 cents per pound on raisins in Canada (down from 4 cents); 12% on canned peaches, pears and apricots in the United Kingdom (down from 15%), and 12 1/2% on the same in New Zealand (down from 26 1/4%); no change in tropical fruit salad in United Kingdom. In return Australia secured a reduction of 5O% in the US duty on beef (down from 6 cents per pound), mutton (down from 5 cents), lamb (down from 7 cents) and butter (down from 14 cents) with an annual quota of 50 million pounds for butter from the Southern Hemisphere during the period November to end of March. Australia accepted a reduction of 25% in the duty on wool (down from 34 cents per pound). For Australia's concessions, see Cabinet Agendum 1019F, dated 24 October, Annexe, 'Empire Preferences'. For US concessions to Australia, see paper 'The Geneva Trade Conference' under cover of letter from Bury to Wheeler dated 26 November, on file AA :

A9790/1, 4151, vi.

[AA: A1068, ER47/1/29]