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Foreign Affairs Council

Volume 81: debated on Thursday 20 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Foreign Affairs Council of 18 and 19 June.

I represented the United Kingdom at the Foreign Affairs Council which met in Luxembourg on 18 June, and our permanent representative to the European Communities, Sir Michael Butler, did so when the Council continued on 19 June.The Council adopted a declaration recalling that GATT proceedings against Japan had been suspended while bilateral discussions continued and expressing its concern over the lack of progress made by Japan in opening up its market. It contrasted Japan's shared responsibility to preserve and strengthen the open multilateral trading system, from which Japan benefits so much, with her relatively low propensity to import manufactures. The declaration, which will form the background to Prime Minister's Nakasone's visit to Brussels on 19 July, noted that the three-year action programme being prepared by the Japanese Government will be credible only if it embraces a clearly verifiable commitment to a significant and sustained increase in imports of manufactures and processed agricultural products into Japan and similar importance is attached to the liberalisation of financial markets and the internationalisation of the yen.The Council adopted a declaration on a dispute in the GATT between the Community and the United States on the Community's import regime for citrus products, expressing the Community's hope that all trade issues which divide the Community and the United States might be resolved amicably, but warning that, if the United States takes unilateral action on this question, the Community would be obliged to take counter-action.The Commission reported to the Council on the demarche by the Polish Government, currently in the chair of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), on closer links with the Community, which is to be considered further by member states.

There was a brief discussion on integrated Mediterranean programmes. The Council will meet on 25 June to discuss the Commission's latest draft regulation in greater detail.

The Council agreed a negotiating mandate for the second EC-Yugoslavia financial protocol, and an EC-Yugoslavia co-operation council was held. There was also discussion about the terms of a new financing regulation for Mediterranean financial protocols.

Ministers also discussed informally on 18 June preparations for the meeting of the European Council at Milan on 28–29 June. There was broad agreement with our view that the European Council must aim to take the key decisions which would contribute, in real and practical ways, to the development of the Community.