To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress he has made towards lifting the export ban on British beef with UK European partners; and if he will make a statement. 
In accordance with the procedure laid down in the Florence agreement, the Commission is working on a proposal for an export certified herds scheme for consideration by the Standing Veterinary Committee. This reflects the most recent opinion for the Scientific Veterinary Committee on the UK papers. The Commission has said it expects its proposal to be presented within weeks.
We have submitted a second proposal to the Commission for a date-based export scheme which would permit export of meat from animals born after 1 August 1996. We are presenting this to be considered by the relevant scientific committees as soon as possible.
My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food maintain regular contact with President Santer, Commissioners Bonino and Fischler and members of the European Parliament to emphasise the importance we attach to rapid progress on lifting the export ban.