HC Deb 24 January 1991 vol 184 cc450-1
13. Mr. Lord

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has on direct and indirect support to agriculture by the United States of America.

Mr. Curry

Provisional estimates by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development are that total transfers to United States agriculture were some US $67 billion in 1989, of which $46 billion was directly funded by taxpayers and the remainder by consumers.

Mr. Lord

I thank my hon. Friend for his answer which indicates clearly that United States farmers are subsidised every bit as much as European farmers are. Will he assure the House that, although a satisfactory result on the GATT round is very important to everyone, it will not be achieved at the expense of our very efficient and hard-pressed farmers?

Mr. Curry

The level of subsidy is rather higher in the Community than it is in the United States and there is no point in trying to avoid that, but, although both sets of farmers are heavily subsidised, the subsidies are as nothing compared with those in Japan. It is extremely important to do a deal that is fair to both sides so that farmers can compete in the world market when they are efficient and looking to the marketplace.