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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 6895


Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 22/04/1986

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 6895

PflIM[ MINISTCR Ladics and gentlemen, I have just had together with
colleagues an extremely useful meeting with tho Prcoidrnnt of thc Commission
arid Cummiisioriier De Clercq. We agreed Lhat at tho outset that both the
Community and Australia faced a numiber tiF cuiriiii problems anid that it
was important that two important bodies such as the Community and
AuLtiUl iU " h~ uuld iFcsume turltL'ucLive, c'ordial, cooperation dincuissions on
these and other related) matters. I appreciated very much the fact that
the Commission had acceded so readily to our request for this meeting, but
most particularly for thd& armthand constructive nutuic or the discussions.
Let me say thnt we have reached agreement on a number of issues and that
I would be prepared now to go through those Items with you.
FIrstLly, we have ttyreed that thero will be by the
Commission a reaffirmation of the agreement that I achievod when I was
here on the last occasion which in shorthand terms can be referred to
ats the" Aiidrlessen agreement", whereby they have Underta9ken not to interfere
withi the Auul. rtiliar markel~ t iii Atla In Lire six countries of:. Jap. an, Korea,
Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Papua New Guinea by the operation of
export restitutions. That agreement which we reached before has been
subsLtinLlally adhered to and hias. now been reconfirmed.
Secondly, the Pi-e-iderl. byreed with our position that
agriculture trade in -agricultural pruuur'ts shouuld * have a pro~ milierntL place
In the new multilateral trado negotiation round which will commence later
Thirdly, there wa3 agreement that there should be
a resumption of Ministerial consultations. As you know, they were postponed
eurlie' thits yPEa by Llhe deuisioi, of tine Commission and it has now been
agreed that those talks should be resumed. They will be resumed this
year erid there will now be discussions at an official level as to the time
rut tLue resumption of those discussions.
Fourthly, there was agreement too that we cannot wait
until the outcome of the MTN rounds, which can be quite prolonged,
Lu address ourselves to the questions of subsidies and farm stock
iii Curope arid Lthe President has agreed that in regard to
subsidies there wtiuld be a stansd-still and roll-back position in regard
to subsidios anid that there would be a careful rentraint in the question
ur ditipusuisor the accumulated farmi stocks so that that fact of disposal of' those
surpluz3 stocks utuld it or Itself be totiadditional disruptive factor
in international trade in agricultural products.
Fiflily, we agreed that in the light of the decision
by -the Commuity that. Lhey wtLed to give added emphasis to new research
and development in the field of technology within the Community that
It would be appropriate that there should be cooperation between Australia
and the Cumrmiunity in the-e aretiu. Tu yive effect to that agreement
there will in the very near future, by May or June, be a high-level mission
from the Comimunity visiting Australia to have consultations with us in
Australia In tihe area or research and development and we believe that
this will be of benefit both to the Commuity and Australia in terms
of' activities within Australia and within the Community and may also
provide a beneficial basis for activities by us in a combined sense
lit our reyioti. May I say on that point that the framework of
consultationo that are evIdeuiced by titn resumption of the Ministerial

FROM AMBASSADE RUSTR4.22.1986 19: 01P. 3
talks and the fact that the Commission will be coming to Australia in
regard to research and tochnology, i1 als1o reflected further in the
euggeation-by President Dclorn which I immediatecly took up,
that he thought it would he useful that in tho icad-up to the * new MTN
round and during it there should be~ liai, 4iuu it, a FrLm1liZed seIle
between ourselves and the ConmitiuiLy, and we have uYreed Lu thUi.
The whole mppru-xti i . iiet-ure ii reflected in the resumption
of the Ministerial talks, the hi1gh-level mission on research and
technology, the suggestion about a formal framework of consultations,
In regard to the MTN is evidence, 1 would suggcst, tuF the determination
on the part of the Community and ourselves to establish a Ibrud
framework of continuing consultation so that the respective interests
of the two groups can be best adveiied. Theni we oyzeed in œ' eij. rd
to the question ort beer imorts into the Cummiiunity what iu t
technically referred talance sheet beer coideriiiiui,, scime. Lhiii
that emerges from the 1979 Tokyo Round, the arrangements that emerged
from there have not worked out as intended at that time and wo have
agreed that later this year thero will be specific discussions at the
official level to try and improve the possibility of access by
beef into the Community. With regard Lo the Inr~ erratlurnal
Dairy Agrecment where there have been some suggestions that there
may have been somye lack of strict adherence to the minimum price
requirements of the International Dairy Ayruemeril, we 8yreed in) our
discusion1s today LhuL there ihould be a commitment and adherence
by both parties to the provisiomsof the International Dairy Agreement
and, finally, we noted that there was Gome concerti on our part ut;
to the possible impact upoi~ 916de, rluwinyt Fiumi the cutivesri iii the
beef industry about the action of the Community in regard to hormone
growth promotants. Now I know you have all crossed that subject,
hormone growth promotants, so I won't Insult your inLelliqenue by
going into the details or it uther than to say that the Commu'unl ty
had decided to ban the hormone growth promotants3' use and to
require exporters of beef to the Community to certify that meat
ent~ eritiy the Cum'munity does~ mo from animals that have boon troatoci
with HGP . Now I know you are going to write columns and columns
about that and so you can finish all your writing on that subject
1) y uayiny that there has beei ayreemiiLn that we will discust that isLie.
between us which at any rate wouldn't be coming into opcration
before I January 1988 to ensure as far as possible out of those
discussions our concerns con be token into account.
So ladies and gentlemen I don't apologise for
the length of that summary because I think you will appreciate
that in a very short. time we havu been able tu CuVer the IbruuI
issues of concerni to AuniLrallts and also to have taken up a number of
particular matters which will be to our mutual benefit. Over to
you. May I say in fairness to President Delors
that as well as discussing these issues they did take thes opportunity
of saying to us that they welcomed thes Cominuity welu: ed Dite
action that this Governiment thad taken in regard to the gradual move
to the reduction of protection levels in Australia as evidenced inwhat
we have done in the steel induBtry plait uind ifi thu muLur veh1icle
production plan and expressed the hope that we would continue the
thrust that we'd established In that areb.

FROM AMBflSSADE AUSTR 4.22.1986 19,02 P. 4
Greg sorry
GREG HYWOOD Mr H-owkc you mentioned atand-still ond wind-back
provisions on subsidies, could you go into some more detail about exactly
what Mr Delora agreed to in regard to that.
PRIME MINISTER--Well what he pointed out was that already under the
thuzA of the Commnission itzself there had 1bwtv ive beylnning or wind-bac1 subsidies, a reduction in the leveI-joV payments under subsidy programs
aiid LhaL Uhi: haW3 bet( Vere-iLud in torne loss or standard of living of
farmers. But. despite this in t he-Community that there was a commitment
by the Commission to a continuation of that process. In other Words,
Greg, the point that was being made agreod between LIS that we
couldn't affordt, giveii the very substantiael probloms that were co~ nfronting
thle Community anid which were merylny Into the international trading
reyinit-tis ta rt'ult or the very substauiLial increase in subsidisation
that had taken placel over tho years which had led to increased production,
we cuuld tiut afford to wail fur thle outcomne of the MIN round, which,
you know, Could guo0i1 FUV quite u conrlideL'able ptrlod or timfe, and
that the thrust of the Community in this area, we were given to understandI
would continue pending the more general determination of thes-e
1t3. uem witi tiñ h Ciiiinewui'k ur Lh MTN.
Do you think agricultural Ministers' meeting in
Luxembourg will ( inaudible)
PRIMEF MIN15TER /~ Olya~ lt the bauiu tit the upermticni of tile Community
is that you have tho Commission itself making it~ s functional rolc is
to make recommendations, the decisions are made by the Ministers3,
anid thie story has beeii one of the Commission, I believe, having an
overall perspective of the need to have this standstill and wind-back
in the processes which have led to the difficulties within Europe
Und inlure yellera1Jy~ he irteriiAiur'l tradinig arena and they have
had degrees of success and I would believe that given the dimension
6f the problems In budgetary terms and in income transfer terms
riom Loiisunier to rarmerG the dimensions. cif thooe problems
that vie have grounds for optimism Lliat the recommondations an d attitudes
of. the Commission will come to recommend themselves t~ o the Ministers.
OL-0'. J

Ouestion ( Milton Cockburn, Sydney Morning Herald)
( inaudibli but relates to immzigration requiremnents for
Australian tourists entering Bali)
Prim,! Minister: M~ iltoni I, just as I wAlked into the Pr'e" Conference ' I wa3
appraiaed of this development, so by definition, I don't
know all the details I will attempt to, as soon as we get
to R~ omeo 1, o St. fuller details on it, so 1' cn not inclined to
make any observation until I have those, that further
information. I would simply say obviously, on the face of
what you say and what I've Jjt been given before I ca~ me ina
it's not a development which I welcome but can't say any
more than that until I oet fiurther inf'ormation.
cuketio Prime Minister, coming back to the European food exports to your are3, how
do you recoriAlc the assurance3 given to you by Pr'esident Delors and verbal
Plans b~ y F'i'en and German~ agricultural Ministers to aimr for a gi 4nt . expozft
Qfferwsive to get rid of Euaropean surpluses. Has anybody told you ina so mrany
WOtr( 1, i 1. 1 ] r~ praa wnUld actually sort of exclude youir area as a target of
this export offensive?
Prime Minister: Let me maike two points about it. Firstly, we recogise that
ir you're going to be looking at the longer termi and part of
the resolution of the problem with which we'ro confronted
bY definition involve the disposal of these' lirp' . accu: niluted
surpluses. While the overhang the international mnarket
yu're going to continue to have a problem. So what has
3pecifically been said to us on that point is that care will
be taken to try and effect an orderly disposal of those
surpluses bo that, as I said before, an unorderly disposal
of them won't pose an additional problem to the ones we already
have; that's the first point. The second point is that I
think that as a result of the discussions we've had here todaythe
reaffirmation of the Andriessen agreenent and the
estab. ishmaent as you will see of an agreement for a broad
range of oonsultative mechanisms, that I wo-ald hope that our
capacity now to put the case of Australia in regard to
apecific markets and specific commodities has been enhanced.
Now I don't want to overstate and say that as a result of
the meeting we've had today that we've eliminated probboens,
it would be stupid to any that and !-don't makce that claim,
Whnat I do say is that as a result of today I think the basis
and them~ raiwwork for relations between the Coimunity and
Australia has been significantly Improved.
Question ( Michelle Grattani, Melbourne Age)
( Inaudible but relating to Mrs Dawkins)
would you car'e to reaffirm your cosplete confidence In Mr. Dawkins?

Prime Minister Well, let's rrmako two points. The first is that, as you
know, I make a practice of not cormmenting on internal
developments while I'm overseas, but having said that, you
know the statement I made in the Parliament before about my
confidence in the Minister and that stands,
Question: Will you be'lookir. e at the matter when you get to Rome?
Prime Minister I had that question put to me at a Press Conference in
London yest-eray. I answered in the negative and nothing
has changed between then and now to make me alter that answer.
Question ( Greg Hywood, Financial Review)
( inaudible, but relates to Mr. Dawkins' alleged suing of one
o hi'offici& ls)
Prime inister Creg, I'm not changing, even in the space of one rrminute,
the answer that I've just given, that is that I'm not
cormenting on developments at home while I'm away. It's
clear that when I return to Australia I will seek to be
fully acquainted with all these developments, It rmay be that
then I'll have some corment back in Australia.
Questiori Prime Vinister, if you( inaudible but refers to Andriessen aereement)
Prime Minister Well, let me say this, that the Andriessen agreement hich
covered the six countries that are concerned emerged fromn
discussions that we had because we had a particular immediate
Concern about those countries. You used the word ' poaching';
I don't want to use that word, I simply want to make the point
that over the years as the Community has sought to dispose of
the enormous surpluses in production which have flowed from
their policies hbre, that has created problems in various
areas for us. Now, I don't want, in the light of what has
been a vary, very positive and constructive session I've had
with the President and Commissioner De Clercq, to go into
negatives. We've had our problems, it's obvious; I think
we're now in u position to have a better opportunity of
dealirg with those problems than we've had in the past. and
I'm encourgod vory much by tho attitude of the Conmission.
Question i
You seem to have a. touching faith
Comnission to deliver. A lot of
dressed up by the Cmmiision and
is only one player. 0 Prime Minister, in the ability of the
the farm disposal programes have been
officials of the Twelvc but the Colmission
U -r

Prime Minister Well, I may be a person of touching faith, not only in
the Cornission but in a range of people; now that's a question
for others to decide but if I could be somewhat detached
about it I think you've got to say, well, when I've talked
with them before and got agreements, have they been adhered
to. The answer on that is, yes.. When I met them beforo I
specirically got the Wgreement, the Andriessen agreement;
that has been adhered to in the period since they agreedo*
Now I hope I've made it clear, I'm sure I did in
the observation I made a while aso
that I don't believe that as a result of the meeting I've
had just now, that all the problems are behind us, far Am
it; but I do believe that both in regard to the i~ m. ediate,
short term future situation and the longer term, there are
considerable areas or agreement.
In regard to the immediate period, there is an understanding,
an agreement to continue consultations at the Ministerial
level and they've been interrupted and at the official level
on a range of matters. Now I believe that nothing but good
can come out of that and in the longer term we have the
agreement of the Commission to the need to ensure that
agriculture has a prominent place in the New KTN Pound.
Now, I don't think it's a question of touching faith, to
have a positive reaction to that outcome. We don't want
to delude ourselves that all the problems have been solved.
I certainly don't.
Question i
Will the Comon Agricultural Policy be. included in the KTN Round?
Prime Ministers You can't talk about international trade in agriculture without.
CAP being involved in the discussions, but there will be
different emphases upon that. The Community will have a
different emphas. s and attitude towards that than we will but
you won't b6 able to have agriculture as a prominent item
on the agenda without CAP being in there.
Question And do you think they'. re agreed on that.
Prime Minister Well, once they say, I mean they are realists, once they
say that agriculture must have a prominent place they understand
that it will be there, that people will discuss it.
Question Prime Minister, about a month ago there were a series of angry statements
coming out in Canberra to the effect that Australians were getting caught
up in a sort of an agricultural trade war between the Uhited States and the
EinEC W. asZhni ntghtoen , l igdho t yoouf fceoenlv etrhsaatti ofnesa r yiosu ' vnoew haAd6 vbioattehd ? h ereT ahnadt tIh eth ifneka, r iesa rnlioewr
gne, that you're much more relaxed about it.

Prime Mlinister No, I'm not rzr. h more relaxad but let me i kv LhU points
which are relevant to your question. In both Washington
and here in Brussels I have voiced, I think effectively and
certainly strongly, the concerns that Australia has about
this new development of, as you put it and I think not tQg
graphically, the oalbllity of a trace war in agricultural
products between the United States and Europe. Now I've
said to both of them that we welcome the fact that they
recognise the dangers and that they are having discussions
about it. The third point I've made and I repeat it here
strungly we don't want to see a situation in which, where
they do have discussions, that they settle the possible
problems between them through some deals which leave Australia
end others out in the cold. So I think the dangers, the
possible dangers of this conflict between the United States
and Europe is still a real one. What I have done is to
convey, a4 strongly Am T can in both Woohington mud hiv, our
concern about that and the two things; one, that there must
not be some bilateral deals done at the expense of others
and secondly, in the longer term more important, that these
matters have to be resolved finally by ensuring, as we've
said, that agriculture does have a prominent place in the
14TN Round and that it has applied to it, the same relevantly
operative sorts of provisions that have been effective in
other areas of international trade.
Queotion Prime Minister
Question Prime Minister i ( Inaudible, but relates to time frame for application of
Andriessen agreement. Questioner suggested another 12 months)
No,, not for another twelve months, the time period wasn't
mentioned but I have no reason to believe that it won't, that
the presumption, let me put it this way, the presumption
should be that it will continue to operate, When we agreed
on it in the first place, when I was here last time, I'm
trying to recall theworde, but I think the phraseology was
that Lhere would be no change that would be contemplated by
the Commission without consulting with us. I think that was
the Substance of the way they approached it and I have no
reason to believe that that wouldn't continue to be the case
and certainly nothing was said in the discussions today which
would lead us to believe that we can't continue to count on
that undertaking.
( Unaudible e relates to US beef coming onto world market
as result of' whole herd-dairy buy-up'scheme)
The whole herd dairy buy-up scheme; I didn't raise that
but let me go back, I mean I said in Washington that, in
my discussions with the Americans, I pointed out what was
the underatanding that we got from the Europeans under the
Andriessen areement and that we would, you know the very

minimun we could
undertaking from
expect the sam; expect from the Americans it we had that
the Europeam that we should be able to
understanding from the Americans.
Question Prime Minister, the Community supports farmers prices by annually, I would
say, 90 billion US dollars; the United States supports their price3 by
about 21 billion dollars. How much does the Australian Covernment spend to
support their farmers?
Prime Minister Its by, comment, I mean this is not a matter I had to argue
with in the United States or here, its accepted there air)' in
the whole international trading cotmunity, that Australians,
Australia's auricultural sector is extraordinarily lightly
assisted. As far as exports are concerned, which is the
major area that we're talking about, we don't subsidise
exports; as far as the internal operational sector is
concerned, a very, very light degree of subsidy and that's
not something I have to argue, it hasn't been argued by
the Europeanu or the Americans.
Question The MTN is still a matter of months off, not tomorrow and
Primo Minister To be precis the Ministerial meeting is in September...
Question ( contd.)
Right, and anything that comes out of it will presumably take time to
have its effect on the international market. Would you care to speculate
how much time?
Prime . inister No, but it's because I'm conscious of the fact, looking at
previous experience, that the Round can take a long time,
that we directly went into the discussions with our friends
here, that there would be a continued addressing to th&
issues of subsidies and disposals. It's because it's going
to take, and when you're talking about the time of the Round
you're not talking about months, you can be talking about
years, and that's why the immediate undertakings have an
added importance.
Question I was talking to Alan Oxley a couple of weeks ago
Prime Minister Oh, that's interesting
Ouestion( contd.)( inaudible relates to prolonged time-span of MTN
negotiations) that inevitably Australia is
going to go through a very costly and painful process. What I'm trying to
ask io how well you can survive it.

Prime Minister Well, let me put it this way. Our capacity to survive
in a bearable fomn would be less, and sipaificuntly losse,
it we had not addressed ourselves both in the United StaLes
and here, to these issues and have got the understanding
of the Americans and of the Europeans that we can't wait
to deal with the problems of international trade in agricultural
commoditiea on the outcome of the Round. There
has got to be preparedness to talk and act in these areas
while those talks are firstly coming Into place and while
they're continuing.
Question ( creg Hywood, Financial Review)
( inaudible relates to when the international deoline in
interest rates will flow on to Australla)
Prime , iniater Well, as you know, there's been a reasonably significant
decline in rates within Australik over the last couple of
months. Broadly speaking, there is an attitude on nmy part,
a4 you kliow, that I don't think in this context it's very
profitable to be making predictions about interest. rate
movements but I would simply say that what's been happening
internationally would add to what I'v -aid in t4e reent.....
past in Australia and that is that we, I think, have the
broad framework within which it's legitimate to expect
a continuation of that trend that we've seen earlier in
Australia. Really Greg, I don't want to be more specific
than that.

Transcript 6895