The 1960s EEC had little reason to prioritise trade with Australia: trade flows were too small and political ties between Australia and continental Europe too weak. That trade with Australia did become an issue of concern, it thus largely due to Britain’s 1961 EEC application. The shape of the deal which looked like emerging in 1961-3 was, however, highly ungenerous – a fact which reflected both the nature of Australian exports and a strong European belief that Australia was less ‘deserving’ than other Commonwealth countries. Australian relief at de Gaulle’s veto may, however, have been premature, since early British membership of the Community might well have been in Australia’s medium term commercial interest
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