13 Letter From Menzies To Norma Williams
I acknowledge your letter of 3 November 1951, relative to the
importation of Japanese goods, especially textiles.
At the present time the bulk of Australia's imports from Japan are
essential goods required by the building industry, or to meet the
demands of processors for basic materials or to cater for
Australia's developmental needs. Adequate supplies of these goods
are not available from other sources and it is in Australia's
interest to take advantage of Japanese availabilities.
Australian exports to Japan have been well in excess of our
imports from that country. Provision was therefore made recently
for the issue of Traders' General Licences permitting the licensee
to exercise within the limits of his licence free choice as to the
nature of the goods imported from Japan. The maximum quota
available to any firm under this arrangement is 1,000 for the
period ending 31st December, 1951, so that imports of any
individual goods will not be large. This decision was publicised
at the time and has been referred to in Parliament and the Press.
I would like to point out that in general, Japanese goods,
including textiles, pay considerably higher tariffs than goods
admissible under the British Preferential Tariff and that policy
in regard to trade with Japan is kept continuously under review.
A copy of a recent statement by my colleague the Hon. the Minister
for Trade and Customs on the subject is attached for your
[AA : A463/17, 56/984]