HC Deb 14 April 1964 vol 693 c242

I come to a proposal about the sugar duties. I also propose to include in the Finance Bill a clause changing the present arrangements for distribution payments on imports of foodstuffs containing sugar, and he reclaiming of distribution payments on exports of these goods. The present arrangements are operating to discourage exports and, at the same time, give an unnecessary subsidy to imports.

The provisions of the Sugar Act, 1956, secure that exporters of sugar composites pay the world price for the refined sugar incorporated in their products. So long as the world price was below the internal price, this arrangement assisted exporters to offer competitive prices; but when, as recently, the world price is higher than the internal price, it has had the reverse effect.

I therefore propose to include a Clause enabling the Minister of Agriculture to determine that distribution payments on sugar used in the production of composites for export should not be reclaimed. In simple language, the effect of this is to live the export manufacturer his refined sugar at the internal price when this is below the world price. This is, generally speaking, the situation in the countries with which our manufacturers have to compete. At the same time, I would propose to enable the Minister, if he thinks it appropriate, to suspend distribution payments on imported composites.