87 Cabinet Committee Decision 180(Hoc)

10th November, 1954

SECRET

CANBERRA

GATT Committee

SUBMISSION NO. 184-TRADE AND TARIFF NEGOTIATIONS WITH JAPAN [1]

Licensing Treatment for Japanese Imports Ministers considered the relative merits of the two proposals for the partial assimilation of Japanese imports into the licensing system for other non-dollar goods.

It was noted that Senator Spooner had cabled the Ministers abroad seeking clarification of some aspects of their proposals but at the time of the meeting no reply had been received.

The Committee reaffirmed the principle that adjustments of import licensing should not be a matter for bargaining in tariff negotiations but noted at the same time that more liberal treatment on import licensing would provide a more favourable atmosphere in tariff negotiations.

It was considered that owing to the present balance of payments position, a scheme which would increase Australia's total commitment for imports would be less acceptable than one which did not.

The Committee deferred a decision on the matter until the reply from the Ministers abroad to Senator Spooner's cable had been received.

It was agreed that a public announcement of the government's decision should be made when the decision is taken.

Trade and Tariff Negotiations with Japan The Committee noted the cables from the Ministers overseas which presented in strong terms arguments in favour of an immediate announcement of the intention to commence tariff negotiations with Japan and noted that the Ministers overseas would be in the better position to assess the tactical advantages in making such an announcement.

The Committee decided that the Japanese should be informed that the Government is prepared to enter into talks with them and examine the mutual problems involved in our trading relations with them. When talking to the Japanese it should be pointed out to them that the talks presented great difficulties to the government but the government had proposed the talks in the hope that a suitable basis for an agreement would be found.

It was agreed that the Ministers overseas should be informed of the decision and asked for their views on timing of the announcement to Japan and on any press statement here or at Geneva from their tactical point of view.

1 Document 86.

[AA : A1838/283, 759/1/7, i]