§ Mr. RAMSDEN
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the large stocks of wool held by the Government, he can state the system to be adopted for unloading it on the market; and at what date he anticipates that the free importation of this article will be resumed?
Acting on the advice of the Wool Council it is proposed to open Colonial wool sales for the sale of Government owned Australian and New Zealand wool early in April, and at the same time to prevent any possibility of prices rising unduly; merchants, top makers, and manufacturers will be allowed to buy wool from the Department at the existing issue rates. As the Government have purchased the Australian and New Zealand wool clips for the period of hostilities and one year commencing 1st July thereafter, the question of the importation of Australian and New Zealand wool on private account does not arise at the present time. South African wool may now be freely imported to this country without price restrictions, and very shortly free importation of East Indian and other low wools will also be allowed. Owing to exchange difficulties, no date can be fixed as yet for the resumption of free imports of crossbred and Merino wool from South America.