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Surplus Commodities

Volume 128: debated on Thursday 25 February 1988

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to the statement on the meeting of the European Council, Official Report, 15 February, column 711, whether he will explain why it would be bad for the countryside if United Kingdom farmers were no longer allowed to export some of their surplus production of cereals and dairy products at the expense of the United States and other food-exporting countries; and if he will include in the Official Report an estimate of the effect on United Kingdom exports of manufacturers of the growth of this trade.

The United Kingdom has a successful export trade in agricultural products. If access to export opportunities were denied to our farmers, other countries would take our place on world markets. This would have the effect of reducing substantially the amount of land devoted to cereals production, to the detriment of the rural economy.