HC Deb 17 December 1979 vol 976 cc13-4
17. Mr. David Price

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will make a statement about the recent meeting of the EEC Council of Ministers.

Mr. Parkinson

I refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal on 21 November.

Mr. Price

How far has the EEC Council of Ministers take into account the effects of current and pending increases in world oil prices on world trade, and the consequential detrimental effects on the economies of EEC countries?

Mr. Parkinson

As my hon. Friend knows, that subject was discussed at the European Council. It is a matter that has been causing the Heads of Governments of the developed countries great concern, especially the Governments of OECD countries. As he also knows, and as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State could tell him in more detail, we are playing our part in trying to ensure that the West uses wisely the available supplies of oil.

Mr. Spriggs

At the EEC Ministers' Conference, was the evidence discussed that was provided by ITV about farmers driving droves of cattle across the border of one country into another—sometimes several times over with the same herd of cattle—and each farmer drawing the grant allowed under the EEC farming policy on each occasion?

Mr. Parkinson

I do not wish to be unhelpful to the hon. Gentleman, but that issue was not discussed at the Council meeting that I attended. If he refers the matter to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, I am sure that he will receive a reply.

Mr. Dalyell

Harking back to the knitwear problem, has there been any discussion at the EEC Council of the effects on Europe as a whole of imports from the Far East, often under false labelling conditions, bearing in mind that the German knitwear industry has almost ceased to exist? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Italians seem to have resisted infiltration, in a way that we have found impossible in Scotland and in the North of England?

Mr. Parkinson

Textiles and the problems of the textile industry are discussed at every meeting of the Council. That has certainly been so at the meetings that I have attended. However, the problem to which the hon. Gentleman referred has not been discussed.

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