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Orange Juice

Volume 264: debated on Tuesday 24 October 1995

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the price of orange juice; what assessment he has made of future trends in prices; and which authorities influence the price charged in the United Kingdom. [39279]

There is a wide variety of types of orange juice, including premium juice made from freshly squeezed oranges, long-life juice made from imported concentrate, and mixtures with other fruit juices. The retail price depends on the type of juice, the cost of manufacture and packaging, the pricing and promotional policy of the retailer and other factors. I see no way of predicting future price trends with confidence, given the number of variables involved.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the amount of the import levy on non-EC orange juice being imposed in the present month; what will be the impact on retail prices; what is the object of the levy; and what assessment he has made of whether the levy conforms to the EU's general agreement on tariffs and trade obligations. [37630]

[holding answer 19 October 1995]: Imports of orange juice into the European Union from non-preferential sources are at present subject to an ad valorem duty of either 18.4 per cent., or 40.6 per cent., depending on the nature of the product, and in most cases a specific duty of 24.8 ecu—currently about £20—per 100 kg. Preferential arrangements apply to imports from a range of countries, for example imports from Israel within a quota are subject only to any specific duty payable.Given the range of duty rates and variety of product lines concerned, the impact on retail prices cannot readily be assessed.These duties form part of a system of Community preference that has existed for many years: on 1 July 1995, the variable levy that existed before that date was replaced by a specific duty required under the GATT settlement. I am satisfied that these duties conform to the EU's obligations under that settlement.