The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP

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Media release

Australian Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile
Wednesday, 23 2001

Death of Sir Allen Westerman

Trade Minister Mark Vaile today said he was saddened to learn of the death of Sir Alan Westerman at the weekend.

Mr Vaile paid tribute to Sir Alan's contribution to Australian trade policy from the late 1950's through to the early 1970's.

Sir Alan was Secretary of the then Department of Trade from 1960 to 1971 and was Chairman of the Commonwealth Tariff Board (1958 - 1960). He also served with a number of companies and industry bodies during the 1970's.

"Sir Alan's contribution to Australian trade policy occurred at a significant time in Australia's international trading history," Mr Vaile said.

"As department secretary, Sir Alan worked closely with the then minister responsible for trade, John (Black Jack) McEwan.  It was a time of great change within the international trade environment - a time when Australia was searching for new markets with the loss of assured access to its oldest market, Britain, when it joined the European Economic Community (EEC).  It was also a time when Australia was seeking markets for its ever-increasing industrial products.

"Sir Alan is particularly remembered for his key role in leading trade negotiations with Japan in 1956 as a deputy secretary in the Department of Trade. These negotiations occurred in a post-war climate of domestic hostility and suspicion between the two countries.

"Sir Alan's skill and determination in undertaking these negotiations with Japan resulted in the historic Australia-Japan Agreement on Commerce 1957 which set the ground work for the future prosperity of Australia-Japan trade and cultural relations.  Today Japan is our largest trading partner.

"I extend my deepest sympathy to Sir Alan's family."

James Baker (Ministerial) 02 6277 7420
Nicole Guihot (Departmental) 02 6261 1555


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