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European Economic Community

Volume 889: debated on Monday 24 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether it is the Government's assessment that the export opportunities for British industry will be greater if the United Kingdom is within the EEC or outside it.

In my view, such an assessment is very difficult to make. But whether we are in or outside British industry will, I hope, make the maximum use of the export opportunities which will continue to exist.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what has been the effect of British membership of the EEC on our nation's freedom to put additional customs duties and quotas in imports of items like French eggs, East European footwear and Eastern textiles and other items on which representations have been made to him by hon. Members and others.

Our freedom to increase duties, impose quotas etc. had long been subject to our obligations under the GATT, the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area agreement, EFTA etc. Accession has meant that over most of this field we additionally need to observe our Community obligations. Under the Treaty of Accession the United Kingdom retains the right until 30th June 1977 to take independent anti-dumping or countervailing action against imports from outside the enlarged Community except in respect of CAP products or where a Community producing industry is affected—when the EEC Com- mission would act on behalf of Member States. For dumping into the United Kingdom from other member States the EEC Commission has powers until 31st December 1977 to authorise protective measures.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the range of policies which Great Britain can pursue designed to curb the non-oil deficit with the EEC without the prior agreement of the EEC; and what is the range of policies available in the event of the nation being successful in endeavouring to negotiate terms of departure from full membership of the EEC.

I have been asked to reply.I will let the hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.