§ Mr. Peter Rees
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is satisfied that Her Majesty's Customs and Excise maintain administrative co-operation with its counterparts in other EEC countries in order to ensure proper administration of community laws and regulations dealing with matters in the customs field for which they are responsible.
§ Mr. Higgins
Yes. For many years the United Kingdom Customs authorities have co-operated with their counterparts in other countries to prevent and combat contraventions of customs laws and regulations. This co-operation supports national objectives and also protects the legitimate interest of trade. Intensified co-operation of this kind is clearly called for between the countries of a customs union, and the United Kingdom is now participating in arrangements for mutual assistance between the customs authorities of the European Communities, under the terms of a convention drawn up in 1967 by the six original member States. This is one of the agreements to which the United Kingdom undertook to accede under Article 3 of the Act of Accession to the European Communities; and power to implement the Convention was taken in the European Communities Act, Section 5(7)(b).
An Instrument of Accession has been deposited with the Italian Government, which is the repository Government for accessions to the Convention. An English text of the Convention appears in Volume V of the Treaties and Related Instruments of the European Communities, published in February 1972 by Her Majesty's Stationery Office. The convention will be applied also by Denmark and Ireland.