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72 Record Of Conversation By Shaw

27th September, 1954

Japan-Australia Trade

The Japanese Ambassador, Mr Nishi, on his initiative raised the
question of a possible new announcement about Australian import
licensing on 1st October, 1954. I told him that there had been
some discussion on this but that I was aware of no decisions which
were to be announced, and I doubted whether there had been a final
consideration of the matter yet. I said that because of an
unfavourable turn in our balance of trade there was some pressure
for tightening import restrictions.

2. Mr Nishi then said that his Government could not understand why
there was discrimination against Japan in import licensing. The
dollar clause in the Sterling Area Agreement with SCAP was an
argument which disappeared, he believed, in 1949, and the Japanese
Government regarded the classification of Japan in a category of
its own as representing an unreasonable discrimination against a
good customer of Australia.

3. I agreed with Mr Nishi that the original purpose in creating a
special category for Japan had vanished but I suggested that
discrimination might not always be against a country in a special
category. We had been making efforts to increase the import
licences given to Japan and, as he was aware, actual trade was
lagging behind the figures authorised by licensing. A more
important factor might be prices or possibly tariffs. We were
continuing to examine the import licensing system, especially as
it applied to Japan. Mr Nishi said that if it were decided to
abolish discrimination in licensing it should also be possible to
discuss tariffs. I said that a decision on tariffs was a
complicated affair and one that would take a long time to work
out. He said that his Embassy would pursue with the Department of
Trade and Customs the question of the relaxation of our import
restrictions.


[AA : A1838/278, 3103/10/2, iii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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