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Debt Relief

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will support efforts to find solutions to the collapse in coffee prices at the forthcoming G8 summit; and if he will make a statement. [111569]

Coffee growers have been hit by low prices and deteriorating quality, the result of global over-supply and structural imbalances in the industry. The Government will support efforts to find solutions at the G8 summit and in follow-up work after the summit, notably for poor countries in Africa.There are a number of possibilities. The UK is already contributing to a sustainable coffee market by helping growers to diversify through its development programme; trying to expand the trade opportunities of commodity-dependent countries, cut tariffs and reduce the negative impact of the CAP. We are promoting foreign investment and good regulatory frameworks, increasing the aid budget to 0.40 per cent. of national income by 2005–06 and advocating more debt relief to highly indebted poor countries. A government-industry working group is currently looking at what more can be done to improve the livelihoods of poorer commodity producers in developing countries. The summit will consider what more can be done.