asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many allegations of unfair competition he has received concerning the subsidy of Golden Delicious apples and their import into the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement detailing the result of any investigations he has ordered into this matter.
Some 50 written allegations have been received of unfair competition concerning various national aids given on Golden Delicious apples which have been imported into the United Kingdom from France. These have been looked into, but I have no evidence that French growers are acting other than commercially and in accordance with Community rules.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is able to specify in detail the nature and value of subsidies and grants available to apple growers in Great Britain and France, respectively; and whether he is satisfied that these lead to fair competition between growers in those countries.
For Great Britain the principal assistance to apple growers is through the grants on capital expenditure such as orchard grubbing, buildings, land improvements and equipment available to individual businesses under the horticulture capital grant scheme, the farm capital grant scheme and the farm and horticulture development scheme. Assistance to co-operatives is available through the agriculture and horticulture cooperation scheme. Precise information is not available on the expenditure under these schemes in respect of apple growing but is estimated at about £1 million in 1979–80. The principal forms of assistance to apple growers in France are through low-interest loans to producer groups for restructuring orchards and for storage and refrigeration, and for hail damage in disaster conditions. Assistance is also given towards the cost of promoting French apples exported here. I have no firm information of the total value of this assistance and no evidence that the aids themselves are in breach of Community rules on competition.