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Volume 130: debated on Thursday 31 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make it his policy to continue to protect the access to the British market of those countries which are traditional suppliers of bananas; if he will support the continuation of the banana protocol to the Lomé III convention in the negotiations with the EEC for Lomé IV; and if he will make a statement.

We remain committed to provide preferential access for bananas from the United Kingdom's traditional suppliers. Following a recent review of banana policy, we have also decided that the United Kingdom market should be enabled to expand gradually, with a guaranteed minimum of licences to import dollar area bananas allocated to small independent importers. This is consistent with our general objectives of promoting competition and consumer choice. The United Kingdom will fight hard in the negotiations for Lomé IV to ensure that preferential access for these traditional supplies from Jamaica and the Windward Islands is maintained.