HC Deb 19 March 1998 vol 308 cc1404-5
15. Mr. Wilkinson

If he discussed the reform of the common agricultural policy with the Minister of Agriculture of Chile during his recent visit to the United Kingdom. [33768]

Dr. John Cunningham

My noble Friend Lord Donoughue met the Chilean Minister of Agriculture on Thursday 5 March. Reform of the common agricultural policy was one of the items that they discussed.

Mr. Wilkinson

I am not surprised at that answer inasmuch as it must seem extraordinarily perverse that the United Kingdom allows itself to be part of a European Union agricultural policy that deliberately excludes some of the very best and cheapest agricultural produce in the world, such as that from Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. As the European Union's agricultural policy is up for review, could not only the consequences of enlargement but the paramount importance of satisfying the need for British consumers to get the best possible and most economic deal be taken into account?

Dr. Cunningham

I am delighted to agree with the hon. Gentleman; he is absolutely right. We should lose no opportunity to press for reform of the common agricultural policy, because of this country's support for successful enlargement of the Union, because of the impending next round of the World Trade Organisation talks on liberalisation and because, as the hon. Gentleman says, we want to give our consumers the best value for money and the best choice in the food that they buy.