To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what grounds Customs and Excise are now expressing the import duty on wines in terms of ecu per hectolitre, details of which have been sent to the Minister in charge of Customs and Excise; and on what legal basis this description of duty is used. 
[holding answer 19 October 1995]: The legal basis for customs duties on goods imported into the European Union is an EC agreement on a common tariff which is then incorporated into the UK tariff. To ensure equity, duties are expressed in the same units in all language versions of the common tariff. In the case of wine imports, one element of the duty is defined in monetary terms. In order that the same rate of duty is levied throughout the community, this is expressed in ecu, but is of course converted to national currency for payment.