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Commonwealth Sugar Agreement

Volume 722: debated on Tuesday 21 December 1965

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asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations to what extent the three-year Commonwealth Sugar Agreement was calculated to result in an expansion of the sugar crop acreage in Trinidad; what effect this is likely to have on the United Kingdom taxpayers' present rate of concealed subsidy to Trinidad sugar producers of approximately £1·6 million per year; and if it was a condition of the agreement that steps should be taken to encourage the production of alternative crops that require a smaller element of subsidy from the United Kingdom than the figure of nearly £20 per acre now being paid in respect of sugar.

The Commonwealth Sugar Agreement is an eight year commercial contract whereby Her Majesty's Government purchases from the sugar industries of certain territories in the Commonwealth fixed quotas of sugar at a Negotiated Price "reasonably remunerative to efficient producers". In calculating this Price, which was recently agreed for the three year period 1966 to 1968, no provision was made for an expansion of the sugar crop acreage in Trinidad.The cost of sugar purchased under the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement is borne by the United Kingdom consumer through the operation of the Sugar Board: no cost falls on the United Kingdom taxpayer as such.There was no condition of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement that the production of alternative crops should be encouraged.