HC Deb 01 December 1966 vol 737 c619
Q7. Mr. Farr

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the inadequacy of the existing machinery of co-ordination between the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in relation to Great Britain's balance of trade with the Argentine, if he will take steps to secure its improvement.

The Prime Minister

I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's premise but if he has any specific point to raise or suggestions to make I should be happy to consider it.

Mr. Farr

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, in the last 10 years, our total net trade deficit with the Argentine has amounted to no less than £573 million? Bearing that staggering figure in mind, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider launching a new initiative to replace Argentine imports with home-grown beef?

The Prime Minister

The beef situation has been dealt with separately by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture at Question Time. The position is still that we shall go on needing all the beef that we can get, despite the recent and, as my right hon. Friend would feel, temporary weakness of the market. Only a few months ago, we were talking about having to stop shipments of meat from here to the Continent. In these circumstances, it would be foolish to impose long-term restrictions on imports from one country, since the situation could change rapidly.