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Argentine Meat Shipments

Volume 497: debated on Monday 10 March 1952

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67.

asked the Minister of Food how much meat the Argentine has contracted to supply to the United Kingdom for each of the post-war years, and at what average prices; how much has been supplied each year; and what is the estimated amount receivable for the current year.

In the years 1945 and 1946, Argentina undertook to sell her exportable surplus of meat, save for small and agreed quantities which could be disposed of elsewhere, to the United Nations. This meat was allocated by the Combined Food Board and shipments to the United Kingdom amounted to 333,400 tons and 323,400 tons, respectively, or about 80 per cent. of Argentina's exportable surplus. Average prices were not specified but are estimate I to have been about £56 per ton.For 1947, Argentina undertook to sell to the United Kingdom 83 per cent. of her exportable surplus. Four hundred and ninety thousand tons were shipped during the period October, 1946, to February, 1948, at an average price of about £72 per ton.In February, 1948, an agreement was reached under which Argentina undertook to send us 400,000 tons of carcase meat and offal. Between that date and the end of June, 1949, shipments of carcase meat and offal to the United Kingdom amounted to approximately 364,000 tons at an average price of about £75 per ton.In June, 1949, a further agreement was signed which provided that Argentina should ship to the United Kingdom a minimum of 300,000 tons of carcase meat and offal during the year, June, 1949, to July, 1950, at an average price of £97.536 per ton. Shipments in this period were 389,918 tons of carcase meat and offal followed by shipments of 10,309 tons in August. 1950.

Shipments were suspended in August, 1950, until April, 1951, when Argentina agreed to ship a minimum of 200,000 tons of carcase meat and offal during the following year. An overall average price was not specified but for shipments up to February, 1952, which amounted to 124,318 tons, the actual average price has been about £130 per ton.

I cannot estimate the quantity of meat we shall eventually get from Argentina during the current agreement.

All the above figures of shipments from Argentina to the United Kingdom are taken from the records of my Department.

68.

asked the Minister of Food whether negotiations have yet commenced in the Argentine to procure further meat supplies; and whom he has appointed to conduct the negotiations on behalf of Her Majesty's Government.

As stated by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade on Friday, 7th March, Her Majesty's Ambassador in Buenos Aires is being given full authority to discuss trade matters with the assistance of the Commercial Minister and such experts as it may be necessary to send from this country.