HC Deb 23 October 1972 vol 843 cc187-8W
Mr. Skeet

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the current negotiations to secure an international marketing arrangement affecting cocoa.

Mr. Prior

I have been asked to reply.

The UN Cocoa Conference ended on Saturday, 21st October with the adoption of an International Cocoa Agreement to operate initially for three years. The successful conclusion of these negotiations, in which the UK has played a leading part, represents a major achievement after many years of international effort.

The agreement is designed to reduce the instability in the world cocoa market and to assure adequate supplies at reasonable prices. I consider that these objectives are in the interests of both producers and consumers, and particularly of those developing countries such as Ghana whose economies are heavily dependent upon their export earnings from cocoa.

The agreement was subject to a general reservation by the USA and to a reservation on one Article by the Federal Republic of Germany which requested more time to consider its implications. I hope that, as a result of this consideration, the agreement will be able to come into operation for the 1973–4 crop year.