HC Deb 06 November 1961 vol 648 cc597-9
14. Sir A. V. Harvey

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, what steps are now being taken to stabilise the British pig industry and at the same time limit imports of foreign bacon.

Mr. Soames

The best prospect for stability for the pig industry lies in a steady and reasonable level in the size of the national pig herd. The arrangements made at the last Annual Review were designed to contribute to this, in particular by the introduction of flexible guarantee and the assurance that the basic guarantee price would not be reduced at the 1962 Annual Review.

As a result of an application for the imposition of a countervailing duty on bacon imports from the Irish Republic, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade is examining whether action under anti-dumping legislation could be justified.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in recent weeks some pig producers have had difficulty in getting the purchasing agencies to accept their products? Does he think it right that countries which are not in E.F.T.A. or even connected with the Common Market should be allowed to dump their bacon or pig meat here as they please?

Mr. Soames

I cannot refer to the question of dumping while it is being considered as the result of an antidumping application. It is sub judiceand, therefore, I cannot go into the matter.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

Would my right hon. Friend say whether he endorses the statement of policy which was made by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary in his constituency the other day in so far as the question of pig marketing in the future is concerned with the Common Market countries? Is the Minister aware that my right hon. Friend is on record as having said that he believes that we must try to encourage Holland and Denmark to send more pigs to Germany and France? Is that his policy too?

Mr. Soames

As to what my right hon. Friend meant in that context, there is no doubt that with Denmark outside the Common Market area and with the tariffs that exist between the Common Market area and those outside it, this militates against the export of bacon and pig meat in general from Denmark into countries which are in the Common Market area. This situation would not exist were Denmark in the Common Market.