§ Mr. Tom King
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what action he is taking over discussions with EFTA countries over the duty free quotas of paper and the operation of the ratchet clause, in the light of the recommendation of the NEDC Sector Working Party on Paper and Board; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Meacher,
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 8th November 1976; Vol. 919, c. 35–6], gave the following information:197W
Discussions have taken place with the EFTA countries on the quota arrangements. The United Kingdom proposed the removal of the so called "ratchet" clause to enable downward revision of quotas at times of recession. The EFTA countries however were opposed in principle to this provision and despite exploring variations no progress could be made. Discussions with the EFTA countries are now taking place to fix quota levels for 1977.