HC Deb 23 January 1975 vol 884 cc1728-9
11. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which foods are now being bought more cheaply from within the EEC than from elsewhere; and if he will publish the differences between current world prices and EEC prices for each commodity.

Mr. Bishop

It is difficult to make direct comparisons of prices of foodstuffs from different national sources because of differences in quality, grading and presentations of products. Of our main temperate imports according to the latest available figures, supplies of wheat, rice, maize, sugar, bacon, lard, tomatoes and apples were available more cheaply from the EEC than from non-EEC sources. There is no easily identifiable world price for many commodities, but with permission I will publish in the Official Report a table showing cif values of our main temperate imports.

Mr. Hamilton

What would be the difference in the retail price index if we had to buy these commodities on the world market? Will my hon. Friend make sure that the information is given as much publicity as the distorted figures on the balance of trade deficit given recently by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade?

Mr. Bishop

It is difficult to talk about the comparisons of prices on world markets, but I have no doubt that there will be no lack of volunteers to make the information known to those who they feel should have it.

Mr. Ronald Bell

Will the Minister remember, in attempting any answer to his hon. Friend's questions, that prices would have to be assessed as they would have been if we had renewed long-term arrangements which we abandoned as a result of a certain mistaken policy?

Commodity (£ per ton) E.E.C. Countries Non-E.E.C. Countries
1. E.E.C. lower than non-E.E.C.
Wheat Denmark 70.50 U.S.A 87.82
France 72.51 Canada 94.47
Rice, short grained Italy 161.75 Australia 190.53
Raw sugar, beet and cane France 130.08 Australia 147.28
Belgium/Luxembourg 134.26 Guyana 152.71
Refined sugar France 185.55 Poland 383.50
Tomatoes, fresh Irish Republic 292.75 Spain 332.99
Netherlands 319.09 Romania 344.14
Apples France 191.31 U.S.A. 220.30
Italy 213.14 Canada 231.37
2. No significant difference
Lard Belgium/Luxembourg 238.54 Hungary 254.17
Netherlands 267.64 Poland 268.12
U.S.A 401.05
Maize France 73.30 U.S.A 68.58
West Germany 75.38 South Africa 72.08
Bacon Denmark 696.55 Sweden 754.65
Irish Republic 669.41 Poland 701.75
3. Non-E.E.C. lower than E.E.C.
Butter France 649.72 New Zealand 361.05
Netherlands 651.41
Denmark 699.29
Cheddar type cheese Irish Republic 772.29 New Zealand 312.05
Netherlands 810.13
Lamb Irish Republic 483.78 (fresh) New Zealand 478.84 (frozen)
Beef No reliable comparison possible owning to ban on imports from non-E.E.C. countries.
Sources: Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom Customs and Excise Tabulation Sheets.
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