HC Deb 30 November 1959 vol 614 cc101-3W
Mr. Coulson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a further statement on the special arrangements which were agreed with other countries of the European Free Trade Association on the treatment of quick-frozen fish fillets.

Mr. Amory

The arrangements are as followsThe United Kingdom Government have accepted the exclusion of quick-frozen fish fillets from Annex E* on the assumption that exports—including exports from the European territories for whose international relations the three Governments are responsible and to which the Convention applies—from Denmark, Norway and Sweden to the United Kingdom are not likely to exceed an annual rate of 24,000 tons by 1st January, 1970, and that the rate of expansion of exports will be gradual and orderly. If at any time before 1st January, 1970, the United Kingdom Government consider that these exports are increasing at an abnormal rate, the four Governments shall consider promptly what action should be taken to moderate the increases. If in any year in this period it seems likely to the United Kingdom Government that these exports will exceed 24,000 tons, the four Governments shall promptly discuss the situation having regard to the conditions prevailing in the fishing industry and the current trends of consumption on the United Kingdom market. Failing agreement the matter shall be reported to the Council with a view to finding a solution.

* Annex E of the Convention establishing the European Free Trade Association is the list of fish and other marine products which will not receive industrial treatment.

† i.e the Council of the European Free Trade Association.

If the Council is unable to reach a unanimous decision, and if no assurance can be given that exports to the United Kingdom will not continue to increase, it will be open to the United Kingdom Government to modify the tariff reductions already made in so far as this may be necessary to avoid serious disturbance in the United Kingdom market. If such modification becomes necessary it will not be the object of the United Kingdom Government that exports should be reduced below the level of 24,000 tons.

Before 1st January, 1970, the four Governments shall consult with a view to making agreed recommendations to the Council on the regime to be applied to quick-frozen fish fillets after that time.

In the event of a fundamental change in the conditions of competition of the fishing industry the Council shall consider the inclusion in Annex E of B.N. item ex 03.01 frozen fish fillets and, unless the Council by unanimous vote decides otherwise, this item shall be included.

The United Kingdom have made it clear that they would regard any extension of fishing limits by another Member Government which excluded our fishing vessels from areas where they are at present fishing as a fundamental change in the conditions of competition of the fishing industry.

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