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Historical documents

74 Minute From Durie To Menzies

30th September, 1954

Import Licensing on Japan
Today's submission by Customs [1] represents a complete about face
on this topic.

Whereas previously Customs urged a cautious step-by-step process
of assimilation to the non-dollar regime, their view now is that
it could take place completely and immediately without detriment
to Australian industry.

This goes further than I have been advocating.

I suggest that while complete assimilation might be practicable
there may be advantages in adopting recommendation 16(b) on page
7-if only to forestall a charge of jumping from one extreme to
another. There is also the point that there is more advantage in
being later in the position of making a further relaxation on the
items that may now appear difficult than in having to tighten up
if those items do in fact become difficult.

There was some question earlier of what this move might mean to
our total import bill. If the Customs basis of assimilation is
followed there should be no change in the total. Any gains by
Japan would be at the expense of other non-dollar countries.

I repeat my earlier suggestion that we should aim at complete
assimilation on the general run of Japanese items with generous
quotas for items which might be dangerous. The new basis should
operate from 1st October but as with other licensing controls the
new regime should first be worked out by officials and cleared
with you (as Prime Minister and Acting Treasurer) by Senator
Spooner before being put into effect. This will mean an
announcement in about two weeks time.

In the meantime we can carry out the intention of clearing the
principles of the new basis with Mr McEwen.

1 Document 73.

[AA : A4906, VOLUME 5]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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