§ Mr. P. Roberts
asked the Minister of Food if he will make a statement about the progress of the negotiations with the Republic of Ireland concerning the Annex to the Trade Agreement of 1948.
§ Major Lloyd George
I have today exchanged Notes with his Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of Ireland setting out arrangements which replace the present Annex to the Trade Agreement of 1948. The text will be issued as a White Paper as soon as possible. Meanwhile, advance copies are available in the Library.
The new Annex is concerned chiefly with the trade in livestock and meat. Its main features are an undertaking by the Irish Republic to send to the United Kingdom not less than 90 per cent. of their total exports of cattle and beef, and an undertaking by the United Kingdom to continue the arrangements linking the prices paid for Irish livestock and meat to those paid to the United Kingdom fanner. In the present Annex the undertaking to send us not less than 90 per cent. of Irish exports applies only to live cattle. Since 1948 a substantial export trade in Irish beef has been developed and in the new Annex the undertaking applies to total exports of live cattle and beef, excluding only certain low-grade categories.61W
The other principal change is that the difference of 5s. per live cwt. between the prices for home-bred cattle and cattle from the Irish Republic has been reduced to 4s. 6d. Farmers who buy Irish store cattle and sell them, after fattening in the United Kingdom, to the Ministry of Food will get 6d. per live cwt. more, and there will be corresponding increases in the prices paid to Irish exporters of fat cattle and beef.
The new Annex provides for discussions between the two Governments about imports of eggs after the end of this year, for such time as eggs continue to be imported on Government account. It also provides for the purchase of such quantities of butter as the Irish Republic may be able to offer.
The new Annex comes into effect on 29th June. It is expressed to run for three years, and may be extended for a further period if both Governments so desire. If and when any of the commodities covered by the Annex is handed back to private import or purchase, the Annex provisions will cease to apply to that commodity, but prior notice will be given so that the two Governments may consider together the arrangements under which the trade will be continued.