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87 Cabinet Committee Decision 180(Hoc)

10th November, 1954



GATT Committee


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

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

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

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]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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