HC Deb 10 November 1977 vol 938 cc252-4W
Mrs. Chalker

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the total sum granted to non-statutory organisations in each of the years 1973–74, 1974–75, 197576, 1976–77 ; what is the size of the grant budgeted for 1977–78, 1978–79 and 1979–80 ; and if he will detail these.

Mr. Meacher:

The grants made to organisations not established by statute were as follows:

should cover all or most of the 19 commodities proposed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development ;

(3) if, at the negotiations concerning a Common Fund, which are due to be held in Geneva, he will urge that the fund should include finance for diversification, and other measures designed to help poorer countries no longer to depend on one or two of the commodities ; and it he will strongly express the view that the producing and consuming countries should have an equal say in the running of the fund, and not allow it to be controlled by the World Bank.

Mr. Meacher,

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 9th November 1977 ; Vol. 938, c. 116–7], gave the following information:

The developed countries have now put forward, at the resumed Negotiating Conference on the Common Fund, joint proposals, with which Her Majesty's Government are associated, for elements to form the basis of a fund. These proposals are based on a pattern of mutual assistance between individual commodity agreements with financial back-up facilities guaranteed by Governments.

Each commodity has its own characteristics, and whether agreements providing for buffer stocks are appropriate, and acceptable to the producing and consumer countries involved, can, however, only be determined in negotiations relating to each commodity. The proposals by the developed countries do not, therefore, involve any prior decision on which commodities should be involved in the arrangements suggested ; and the establishment of the Common Fund would not need to await the conclusion of the programme of commodity by commodity discussions now under way.

As regards measures other than buffer stocks, the developed countries have expressed willingness to discuss whether there are deficiencies in existing international arrangements for the support of such measures and what improvements, if any, might be needed in these arrangements, including any possible role for the Common Fund.

Regarding the organisation and management of the fund, it is the intention of the developed countries that the allocation of votes and decision-making procedures should ensure a satisfactory balance between the various financial and economic interests involved, and should adequately safeguard the interests both of commodity producers and consumers whether developing or developed.