§ Mr. Biffen
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations or observations have been received from COPA concerning the present importation of French eggs.
§ Mr. Bishop
We have received no representations or observations from COPA concerning the present importation of French eggs.
§ Mr. Corbett
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what further discussions he has had with the French Government about matters of concern to United Kingdom egg producers; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Bishop
The French Government have explained that the main purpose of the measures announced last week is to relieve the pressure of supplies on their own and other Community markets,170W including the United Kingdom. They intend to bring about an immediate cut in egg production by the culling of 2 million laying hens. They have given instructions to the banks not to advance new loans for the construction or extension of hatcheries. In making a further loan to the producer-organised price equalisation fund which covers about one-fifth of French output, they have insisted that the organisations concerned should prepare schemes to control production. They hope that these measures will combine to produce an early improvement in the market situation.
The French Government have also given an assurance that they will act immediately to allow free access for United Kingdom eggs to their own market, as soon as the use here of arsenicals in feedingstuffs for laying hens is stopped. The Government have already sought the agreement of the industry and manufacturers to this step, and hope that it can be agreed and implemented quickly.
The two Governments noted that the recent increase in the restitutions paid on eggs exported outside the Community should also help ease pressure on the market. They agreed to hold further bilateral discussions at both Government and industry level to see whether further steps could be taken to improve the situation.