asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwwealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the United Nations integrated programme for commodities; what progress has been made in respect of each commodity; and if he will make a statement.
We continue to support the integrated programme for commodities (IPC) adopted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development at its fourth session in 1976.Either in its own right, or as part of the European Community, the United Kingdom is a member of all existing international commodity agreements set up under the IPC. These comprise agreements for tin, coffee, cocoa and rubber which are designed to stabilise prices—the last two are soon to expire and are currently being renegotiated—and two "other measures" agreements, for jute and tropical timber, which are largely concerned with research and development. As a member of the Community, we also belong to agreements covering wheat and olive oil designed to improve market conditions by consultation between producers and consumers. The Community is a member, too, of a purely administrative agreement for sugar. The United Kingdom ratified the common fund for commodities, another element of the IPC, in 1981.We continue to work to ensure that these commodity agreements operate as effectively as possible, and are participating constructively in international work to establish the scope for new agreements or other arrangements for the IPC commodities on a commodity by commodity basis. We support the conclusion of new agreements where they are feasible, cost-effective and beneficial to both producers and consumers alike.