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Food Imports (Eec Payments)

Volume 888: debated on Friday 21 March 1975

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will tabulate the accession compensatory amounts payable by the EEC on food exports to the United Kingdom from January 1973 for each of the main foods imports, either for each month or representative period, stating the reason for payment of such compensatory amounts, to whom the payments are made and in what form, from which funds they come, and for what period they are expected to last.

Accession compensatory amounts are designed to ensure a gradual transition from pre-accession United Kingdom price levels to common Community price levels in respect of pro- rection any residual United Kingdom levies shown were in fact eliminated and, since 21st October 1974, a net import subsidy has been paid. There has been no cost to the United Kingdom importer resulting from the system of levies and compensatory amounts during this period. Information on the daily rates of levies and compensatory amounts may be obtained from the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce.It would be unrealistic to try to relate the Exchequer subsidy on bread to the quantity of imported wheat used in its manufacture, since whilst the subsidy is payable on flour used to produce bread the rate is based on the total cost of producing a loaf.ducts subject to a common organization of the market. Under the Act of Accession the transition will be complete, and hence accession compensatory amounts will cease, not late than 1st January 1978.Where United Kingdom institutional price levels are lower than those in the exporting Community country the accession compensatory amount operates in intra-Community trade as an export subsidy. This would be a charge on the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (FEOGA). As regards trade with third countries accession compensatory amounts operate to reduce any import levy or export refund that may be applicable on entry to the United Kingdom. In many cases monetary compensatory amounts also apply.

Full details of past rates on the lines requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost. The rates of accession compensatory amounts are published in the Official Journal of the European Communities and information on current rates is available from the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce. Some details of rates are also given in a booklet on EEC Common and United Kingdom Transition Prices produced by my Department and I am sending my hon. Friend a copy, and a copy is available in the Library of the House.