Subject: LUSA: Australia preparing to lift import tariffs

18 Jun 02 13:15 East Timor: Australia preparing to lift import tariffs

The Australian government could soon approve total exemption of duty on products imported from East Timor, government sources in Canberra said Tuesday.

Concrete proposals on the matter are already under preparation by the Australian government, according to the sources, and could be presented to parliament "within months".

The first official Australian reference to possible tariff exemption was made last week at the inauguration of the Australia-East Timor Business Council in Sydney.

At the opening of the bilateral trade organization, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer had said that the world`s newest country continued to face serious economic difficulties.

"We are aware that there is an immediate responsibility on Australia`s part to help and guarantee that Timor and its people have an economically sustainable future", said Downer.

"I hope that it will be possible to announce this year that Australia will offer exemption of tariffs for all products from East Timor", added Canberra`s foreign minister.

CJB/ASP -Lusa-

© 1997 Lusa Comentários e Sugestões para Agência Lusa

-- Posted by Eliot Hoffman, East Timor Action Network/US,

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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