HC Deb 12 April 1962 vol 657 cc1483-5
21. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what tonnage of sugar will be imported during 1961–62 under agreements with Colonial Territories; and what proportion of the estimated production this represents in each case.

Mr. Maudling

The only agreement under which sugar is imported into the U.K. from Colonial Territories is the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. Shipments of sugar from Colonial Territories to this country under this agreement arriving in 1961 or early 1962 totalled 1,049,000 long tons, representing approximately 53 per cent. of the estimated production of the Colonial Territories which are parties to the C.S.A. With the hon. Member's permission, I will circulate the detailed figures in respect of the main colonial sugar-producing territories in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Brockway

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that promise, may I ask him whether, in view of the restriction on emigration from these countries, it is not very desirable that we should do our utmost to assist them in sugar production, which in many of these territories is the mainstay of the economy? Is it not a little humiliating that Jamaica should be now sending someone to the United States of America to beg them to take Jamaican sugar, and is it not all wrong that we should be maintaining Imperial Preference for the Republic of South Africa when our own Colonial Territories and Commonwealth are in this need?

Mr. Maudling

I think the importance of the sugar price to the West Indian territories is very high, but it is very wrong to under-estimate what this country is doing. We are buying very large quantities of sugar from this part of the world at a price away above the world market price, which represents an enormous advantage to these countries.

Mr. Strachey

Does not the Colonial Secretary agree that just because we are buying at this very much higher price, as he says, there is not necessarily a limit to the amount of sugar we can buy at that price? Is it not a great scandal that some of that amount is now bought from a foreign country under the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement, when all of it quite clearly should be used for the benefit of the Colonies and the Commonwealth countries?

Mr. Maudling

The right hon. Gentleman is trying to reopen a rather different question.

Mr. Thorpe

Is it not true that one of the beneficiaries of the Commonwealth Agreement is Swaziland, but, because of the South Africa Act, the price in that territory is depressed by £10 per ton, and expansionist possibilities are being deliberately repressed in order to subsidise foreign producers in South Africa? Is not that an outrage?

Mr. Maudling

If the hon. Gentleman will put that Question down, I shall be very glad to answer it.

Following are the detailed figures:

'000s long tons
Production Exports to United Kingdom Exports to United Kingdom as percentage of production
Fiji 163 74 45
Mauritius 544 402 74
The West Indies 921 437 47
British Guiana 325 117 36
British Honduras 28 19 68
Totals 1,981 1,049 53
The figures in the first column relate to production for the calendar year 1961; those in the second column relate to shipments to the United Kingdom during 1961, arriving in 1961 or early 1962.
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