The British Embassy to the Department of State

His Majesty’s Government in the Commonwealth of Australia are anxious to explain the present position with regard to the operation of their licensing system.

In March next the Commonwealth Government propose to substitute for the present licensing system new tariff provisions for such of the items at present subject to that system as are now being manufactured in Australia and require protection. Until that date licences are being issued freely for 77 out of the 92 items affected by the system. Four other items are the subject of quotas of which the United States of America has the largest share.

There remain eleven items licences for the import of which are still nominally restricted. But in the case of some of the articles comprised in the items although it has not been possible to announce that licences will be issued freely in fact licences can and are being issued for the import of goods from the United States of America.

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Any discrimination that remains is confined to a limited number of articles, the total value of the imports of which from all countries is estimated not to exceed £200,000 in a full year. For the import of these items from the United States of America it is not possible to issue licences. In the case of some of them open licences have already been issued and few if any further licences could be issued before the licensing system comes to an end. As regards the remainder, the Commonwealth Government has either undertaken to issue licences for imports from certain foreign countries or, in the interests of Australian manufacturers, has agreed with those interests not to permit the import of these goods from the United States of America.

Taking the licensing system as a whole, importers from the United States of America are now receiving licences for goods of a greater value than in the case of any other country, and imports from the United States of America are being granted the most liberal treatment consistent with the assurance the Commonwealth Government has given to certain manufacturers.

The Commonwealth Government hope that the above will show that they are issuing licences liberally for imports from the United States of America; and that the United States Government will appreciate that during the period of approximately six weeks for which the licensing system will continue it will affect such a comparatively negligible proportion of United States of America trade with Australia that they will consider that substantial discrimination no longer exists.