HC Deb 01 March 1962 vol 654 cc1526-7
40. Mr. Brockway

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the terms of the bilateral sugar agreement recently concluded with South Africa.

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Christopher Soames)

The terms of this agreement were set out in my written reply to my honourable friend the Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) on 15th November last.

Mr. Brockway

But do not those terms show that this year we are making a subsidy of£2,700,000 to the Republic of South Africa? When within the Commonwealth we have countries like Jamaica—and the West Indies generally—and Mauritius, which are sugar-producing countries and in which heavy unemployment is leading to emigration to this country, would it not be much better to concentrate on those territories now that South Africa is outside the Commonwealth?

Mr. Soames

No, Sir. What it shows is that we have for a long time now had a long-term agreement with South Africa to purchase sugar, and it would not be in the interests of our trading relations with South Africa or, indeed, in the wider interests, or the interests of the producers in Swaziland if this payment was reduced very rapidly. In all the circumstances, we have made a most reasonable agreement with South Africa.

Sir C. Osborne

If we boycotted South African goods, would not the South African retaliate? Would we not lose exports, and would not our industrial workers suffer as a consequence?

Mr. Soames

I am able to tell my hon. Friend that that is a purely hypothetical question.