HC Deb 27 May 1976 vol 912 cc318-9W
Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the tonnage of beef imported from Australia in each year from 1972 to date; and whether, as Australia has a surplus of beef, he will arrange to improve the estimated £12½ million of beef now available.

Mr. Bishop

The quantity of beef imported by the United Kingdom from Australia in the years referred to was as follows:

1972 67,532 tons
1973 85,975 tons
1974 22,735 tons
1975 10,102 tons

Source: Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom.

Under the present Community arrangements imports of carcase beef from non-member countries are limited to those under the EEC GATT quota for frozen beef, quotas of beef from ACP countries and imports under the "jumelage" scheme. However, the Commission has produced proposals for a new system of variable import levies for beef which, if implemented would allow resumption of trade on a normal basis between the Community and third country suppliers, including Australia. It is intended that the Council of Ministers should reach a decision on these proposals before the summer break.