HC Deb 04 March 1970 vol 797 cc110-2W
Mr. Alfred Morris

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will now make a statement on his proposals for the introduction of minimum import prices for shell eggs and egg products.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

We have now completed our discussions with overseas suppliers and it is our intention to introduce the minimum import prices for shell eggs and egg products with effect from 31st March, 1970.

My colleagues and I will lay before Parliament within the next few days an Order under Part I of the Agriculture and Horticulture Act 1964 specifying shell eggs together with liquid and frozen whole egg and dried whole egg as commodities to which minimum import price arrangements can be applied. We shall be laying further Orders before Parliament as soon as possible setting out the levels of the minimum import prices and the arrangements for supporting them by levies.

The minimum import prices for shell eggs will be related to the weight grades under which imported eggs are normally sold on the United Kingdom market. The minimum import prices will apply initially from 31st March, 1970 but there will be all round increases equivalent to 2d. a dozen from the end of March

Opening Scale from Scale from
31st March, 1970 29th March, 1971
Pounds weight per long hundred (per long hundred) (per long hundred)
Not exceeding 11 17s. 6d. (£0.87½) 19s. 2d. (£0.96)
Over 11 but not exceeding 12½ 20s. 0d. (£1.00) 21s. 8d. (£1.08)
Over 12½ but not exceeding 14 22s. 6d. (£1.12½) 24s. 2d. (£1.21)
Over 14 but not exceeding 15½ 24s. 6d. (£1 .22½) 26s. 3d. (£1.31)
Over 15½ but not exceeding 17 27s. 0d. (£1.35) 28s. 9d. (£1.44)
Over 17 29s. 6d. (£1 .47½) 31s. 3d. (£1.56)

The minimum import prices for egg products will be fixed at £220 a ton for liquid and frozen egg and £660 a ton for dried egg. In respect of both shell eggs and egg products the minimum import prices are on a c.i.f. duty paid basis. The minimum import prices for shell eggs and egg products will be supported by a system of general levies subject to an exemption from general levies in favour of countries which have undertaken to co-operate so far as practicable in the maintenance of the minimum import prices. The co-operating countries are Denmark and the Irish Republic for shell eggs and Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Netherlands for egg products. Should exceptionally the offer price of imports from the co-operating countries fall below the relevant minimum import price levels, country as opposed to general levies will be applied.

Eggs imported for hatching will be excluded from the minimum import price arrangements but consignments of hatching eggs will need to be supported by certificates issued by one of the Agricultural Departments in the United Kingdom. No exemption will, however, be made for eggs imported specifically for processing.

The operation of the minimum import price arrangements together with the level of prices will be subject to review annually in the light of conditions in the United Kingdom egg industry and the trade in shell eggs and egg products in the United Kingdom market.

Explanatory notes on the details of the levy arrangements and a Customs notice explaining the Customs procedure which importers will be required to follow will be published when the Order dealing with the levy arrangements has been laid.

next year when the Egg Boards' marketing arrangements come to an end. The rates, which will be expressed in terms of long hundreds (of 120 eggs) will be as follows

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