International Business

Australia and the Global Trade System: From Havana to by Ann Capling

By Ann Capling

Australia and the realm exchange procedure offers a complete account of Australia's position in constructing and retaining the multilateral alternate process from its origins in 1947 to the current day. This ebook, in line with archival resources and oral interviews, makes an important contribution to our realizing of Australia's exchange guidelines, its advertisement international relations, and its function and place within the worldwide political economic climate.

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THE ENFANT TERRIBLE' 27 Certainly, in their own assessments of the meeting the Australian delegates were both pleased and surprised by the impact they had in London. All three of the government's major negotiating objectives had been achieved. The 'negative' approach of trade liberalisation had been counterbalanced by positive commitments to employment and economic development. Australia had also secured amendments that permitted countries to use defensive measures otherwise proscribed by the Charter in the event of economic emergencies, such as a balance of payments crisis.

In reality Australia's manufacturers had little to complain about. Only a tiny proportion of Australia's import trade consisted of 'bound' items for which Australia had received compensatory tariff concessions in overseas markets. Moreover, the General Agreement had safeguard rules that enabled states to be released from their obligations in circumstances where domestic or international economic conditions are such that compliance with the rules would lead to severe hardship. GAIT rules allowed countries to modifY or even withdraw tariff bindings under specific exceptional circumstances, including industry or national development purposes (Article XVIII), or to protect against serious threat to local industry caused by an unforeseen increase in imports (Article XIX).

56 At this moment, Australia had more negotiating leverage with the United States than it ever had before (or since). Because of Australia's importance in the imperial preferential system, the United States regarded it as one of eight 'key countries' in the negotiations. Without a bilateral agreement with Australia, it would be politically impossible to convince Congress that there had been significant modifications of the preferential system and the multilateral process would break down. 57 It was quite possible that without a deal on wool, the Geneva negotiations would be wrecked.

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