HL Deb 16 July 1979 vol 401 c1270WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What grounds the developing nations gave for declining to sign the Tokyo Agreement on multilateral trade, and if, to facilitate agreement, support will be given at the Geneva discussions to reductions in tariffs and other barriers to trade as requested by Group 77.


Developing country representatives have stated in the Trade Negotiations Committee and elsewhere that the agreements drawn up in the Multilateral Trade Negotiations do not fully meet their objectives. Discussions are, however, continuing on a number of points of interest to developing countries, including the proposals for a safeguards agreement, the precise terms of the customs valuation agreement, and the timing of tariff reductions on products of particular interest to developing countries. It is not possible to judge the extent to which developing countries will accede to the various MTN agreements until these discussions have been completed.

The Government are being as flexible as possible in their attitude to the outstanding issues. The European Economic Community went as far as it could in negotiation to meet the requests of developing countries, and the agreements which have been drawn up offer these countries substantial reductions in the barriers to their trade.

House adjourned at twenty-four minutes past nine o'clock.