HC Deb 15 July 1963 vol 681 cc18-9
19. Mr. Burden

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he is aware of the proposal of the Argentine Government to make discriminatory payments to Argentine meat producers, which would prejudice the position of British companies operating in the Argentine; and if he will make representations to the Argentine Government to prevent this proposal being carried out.

Mr. P. Thomas

I am aware that the Argentine Government propose to allow Argentine concerns access to working capital from a fund to which both Argentine and foreign companies in the meat trade have to contribute. British companies would suffer if this proposal were put into effect. Representations have been made to the Argentine Government pointing out the discriminatory nature of their proposal and expressing our concern.

Mr. Burden

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that it should be made abundantly clear to the Argentine Government that any such discrimination against British companies operating in the Argentine can only result in Argentine meat producers and meat product companies being seriously prejudiced in United Kingdom markets today; and that they cannot expect to enjoy the freedom they have had in the past if they so discriminate against British companies operating in the Argentine?

Mr. Thomas

I hope that the representations already made will lead to the desired result.

Sir J. Langford-Holt

Is my hon. Friend aware that this Argentine Government is the same Government to which his right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture has, as a result of the recent agreement, handed to the Argentine Government the right to allocate meat to British firms in this country as the Argentine Government wish? Will my hon. Friend consult his right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture as to whether it is not much better that the distribution of meat in this country should be done in this country and not done by the Argentine Government?

Mr. Thomas

No, Sir. I was not aware of that, but I will accept it from my hon. Friend and will certainly consult my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture.