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Common Agricultural Policy

Volume 78: debated on Tuesday 30 April 1985

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will bring up to date the information given in the reply of 26 February, Official Report, columns 91–93, concerning prices and levies; and what further changes he envisages as a result of more recent movements in the exchange rate.

The information requested is set out in the tables. The "world prices" shown in table 1 are generally the lowest offer prices at the Community frontier underlying the Commission's calculation of the variable import levies. I remind the hon. Member that these are the lowest prices recorded and it is highly likely that on average higher prices would have to be paid if larger quantities were to be purchased on world markets. The "world prices" shown do not necessarily relate to the same quality or presentation of product for which United Kingdom market prices are set out in table 2.The levies and notional world prices shown reflect the £-ecu exchange rate used to calculate monetary compensatory amounts (MCA) for the week commencing 22 April. Any subsequent movement in this exchange rate would, other things being equal, have a direct effect on the notional world price shown and, for products to which the MCA system applies, cause a broadly equal but opposite change in the levy applicable in the United Kingdom. The effect of the MCA system is to insulate United Kingdom market prices from movements in the market exchange rate of the pound.

Levy Applicable in the United Kingdom and Notional "World" Price* on 24 April 1985 for the Main Traded Agricultural Commodities
Levy Applicable in United Kingdom (£/tonne)Notional "world" price (£/tonne)
Common wheat59109
Olive oil402836
Skimmed milk powder678469
Beef and veal¶1,446935
Sheepmeat● —1,739


* "world" prices have been calculated by subtracting the levy applicable on 24 April from the threshold/guide price. The beef price is also adjusted for duty. In the case of pigmeat, poultrymeat and eggs, the "world" price has been taken as the sluicegate price, less supplementary levy where appropriate. The resulting estimate has been converted from ECU/t at the appropriate market rate of exchange £0·606046= 1ECU;

†the rates of levy vary for different tariff headings. The rates quoted are beef and veal—carcase; pigmeat—carcase; poultrymeat—70 per cent. chickens; rice—wholly milled long grain; virgin olive oil (1,507 AIa) eggs in shell including supplementary levy. Levies are shown after deduction of the monetary compensatory amount where applicable;

‡ in practice the United Kingdom's imports from third countries are normally covered by the Lomé convention and enter the Community levy-free;

|| a special lower rate of levy is applicable to imports of butter from New Zealand;

¶most imports of beef from third countries are subject to special arrangements allowing entry at reduced levy rates;

● imports of lamb under voluntary restraint arrangements with principal suppliers and related agreements are subject to a reduced charge of 10 per cent, ad valorem. Any imports outside these arrangements are subject to levies which cannot exceed the 20 per cent, tariff bound in the GATT.

Table 2

Selected Average Market/Wholesale Prices United Kingdom: Week ending 20 April 1985

Common wheat (grower to merchant price England and Wales)


Barley (grower to merchant price England and Wales)


Maize (USA ex port Bristol)†164
Rice (US long grain—London)615
Sugar (refined bulk granulated)419
Olive oil (EC origin, cif UK)1,847
Butter (English, wholesale, London)2,270
Skimmed milk powder (list price)1,050
Fat cattle, certified, UK (liveweight)945
Fat sheep, certified, GB (estimated dressed carcase weight)2,438
Fat pigs (all pigs, deadweight)1,021
Poultrymeat (broilers, liveweight)573
Eggs (size 3, packer to producer price)589

Note: A wide range of price quotations exists for individual commodities depending on quality, presentation, stage of marketing and so on. Those shown are intended to be illustrative of prices paid by wholesalers or received by producers.

* Relates to week ended 13 April.

Relates to week ended 17 April.