HC Deb 30 October 1980 vol 991 cc362-3W
Mr. Marlow

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why British Lamb exporters are being required to repay EEC subsidies; what study he he has made of the arrangements under which in past years the same requirement has not been imposed upon French grain exporters; and whether he will seek to make similar arrangements in respect of lamb.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Under the sheepmeat regime, any member State electing to operate variable premium arrangements is required to charge an amount equivalent to the value of the premium when exports take pace. This applies in the United Kingdom which has, in the interests of its consumers, chosen the variable premium system (similar to our former deficiency payment arrangements) rather than intervention.

The basic intention behind the charge is to prevent exports which have benefited from variable premium from undermining the intervention arrangements which importing States might be operating. But the Commission has stated that it is not the intention that the arrangements should hinder the development of our export trade and we shall accordingly be keeping the situation under review.

So far as grain is concerned, a uniform system of support operates throughout the Community so that no comparable situation arises.

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