86 Submission 184 To Cabinet By Menzies
10th November, 1954
Trade and Tariff Negotiations with Japan
In previous consideration of the problems associated with Japan
and GATT it was proposed to ask Mr McEwen and Senator O'Sullivan
for their views on Submission No. 153.  Their views have now
been received and are attached for consideration together with an
introductory statement by the Departments concerned.
TRADE AND TARIFF NEGOTIATIONS WITH JAPAN
After the problem of accommodating Japan in GATT had been
discussed at the Commonwealth talks in London, Mr McEwen and
Senator O'Sullivan cabled a recommendation that bilateral talks
with Japan be opened as a matter of urgency. (See GATT 2 
2. Following receipt of this cable the Interdepartmental Committee
prepared a report for Cabinet (Submission No. 142).  This
report discussed the possible alternative types of bilateral
agreement with Japan (Canadian type and quota principle type) and
outlined the difficulties which would confront Australia in an
3. The Acting Minister for Trade and Customs has circulated to
Cabinet a further Submission (No. 153) which contains proposals
(a) Partial assimilation of Japan into the non-dollar licensing
system, subject to prior consultation with the Ministers abroad;
(b) Trade and tariff negotiations with Japan-the papers presented
the matters which it was considered had to be faced before the
decision could be taken to commence trade and tariff negotiations.
Some experience of more liberal trading conditions was considered
necessary before we could know whether a basis for tariff
4. Cabinet decided to seek the views of the Ministers abroad on
the proposals contained in Cabinet Submission No. 153. In the
meantime, a small Committee of Ministers examined the selected
tariff items under which Japan is a significant or potentially
significant supplier to Australia. This Committee decided that it
was not in a position to make a precise recommendation to Cabinet
until the comments were received from the Ministers abroad on
Submission No. 153.
5. Mr McEwen and Senator O'Sullivan have now given their comments
in some detail in Cable GATT 8  (attached). In brief, they
(a) The intention to commence tariff negotiations can and should
be announced immediately. The Ministers are of the view that it is
entirely unnecessary to have completed the detailed study of the
tariff items before this decision is taken.
(b) The adoption of the assimilation proposals, subject to
variation in the treatment of contentious items (see paragraph
3(b) of GATT 8).
6. Senator Spooner cabled the Ministers on Monday asking for
clarification of some aspects of the Ministers' recommendations on
import licensing (see Cable 256 attached ). An answer to this
Cable has been requested for tonight's meeting.
7. UK Proposals: The United Kingdom has advised us of the
proposals they have made to Japan. Cables giving the United
Kingdom proposal (B4)  and the preliminary Japanese reply (B5)
 are attached for information.
8. Points for Decision:
(a) announcement of willingness to commence trade and tariff
negotiations (paragraphs 1 and 2 of GATT 8).
(b) licensing treatment (paragraph 3(b) of GATT 8).
[AA : A1838/283, 759/1/7, i]