HC Deb 20 May 1981 vol 5 cc100-2W
Mr. Chapman

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council held on 18 and 19 May.

Sir Ian Gilmour

I represented the United Kingdom at this Council. My hon. Friend the Minister for Trade attended for discussions on Japan and United States textiles.

During the Council there was a meeting with the Portuguese Secretary of State for European Integration in the context of Portugal's negotiations for accession to the Community, in the course of which the Community made declarations on transport and Community secondary legislation and there was a general exchange of views about the progress of the negotiations.

The Council failed to agree on a Community mandate for negotiations with Yugoslavia on a Protocol to adapt the European Community/Yugoslavia co-operation agreement of 1980 to take account of Greek accession to the Community. Member States were unable to agree on future levels of Yugoslav baby-beef exports to Greece and existing temporary autonomous arrangements will be extended for a further two months. Her Majesty's Government has consistently pressed for fair arrangements for Yugoslavia.

The Commission reported that there had been a drop in United States exports of textiles to the European Community. They stated their intention to continue to press for early decontrol of United States gas prices. My hon. Friend the Minister for Trade underlined the need for this pressure to be maintained.

The Council adopted a declaration on relations with Japan, expressing serious concern at the present state of trade between Japan and the Community and its likely future development. It referred to the level and concentration of Japanese exports in certain sensitive sectors, and to the need for the Japanese Government to take positive steps to increase imports of Community products. It noted with approval the Commission's intention to seek an undertaking on cars from the Japanese which would include a commitment that exports of Japanese cars to the Community should be subject to measures analogous to those decided by Japan in respect of the United States.

The Council discussed the Community's position on provisional application of the new international cocoa agreement.

After considering the views of the European Parliament the Council agreed a series of regulations implementing the Community's programme of food aid for developing countries in 1981. The total value of the programme is over £200 million at world prices.

Ministers welcomed the adoption of a second programme for a consumer protection and information policy.

The Council approved the results of the negotiation of an agreement between Australia and Euratom concerning transfers of nuclear material from Australia to the Community, or an agreement on the import of Australian uranium into the Community".

On the question of the review of method and sacrifice on staff pay, the Council reached agreement on its broad orientation; discussions with the staff will continue.

Finally, with regard to staff relations, the proposed consultation procedure was adopted; a decision on a conciliation procedure will be taken at a later date.

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