HC Deb 13 June 1984 vol 61 c477W
Mr. Hayes

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Council of Ministers' meeting on consumer affairs which took place on 5 June.

Mr. Channon

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for corporate and consumer affairs attended the Council on 5 June, which was the third to be devoted to consumer affairs.

Some progress towards agreement was made on the proposal for a directive on misleading advertising. Several outstanding points were resolved and on the remaining points of difference new options were identified which it was agreed should be actively followed up with a view to further discussions soon.

Consideration of the proposal for a directive on product liability again centred mainly on the question of whether there should be a financial limit to a producer's liability. There was a wide range of views on this and compromise proposals for further study by the Committee of Permanent Representatives were identified.

The proposal for a directive on doorstep selling was briefly discussed. There is now general agreement on the text but adoption is not yet possible because one member state continues to retain its general reserve on this directive.

The Council also took note of the interim reports from the Committee of Permanent Representatives on proposals for Directives on price indication of foodstuffs and nonfood products and agreed that further work should be undertaken in conjunction with consideration of standar-disation of package sizes.

The Commission drew attention to its statement at the last Council on its work programme for consumer policies. During discussion on the approach to be followed, it was emphasised that we consider the interests of the consumer are best served by ensuring an efficient market place with free and open competition and that we would continue to support Community action to achieve this objective, that regulation should be kept to a minimum and that any legislative proposals should be examined to ensure that they will be of real benefit to consumers throughout the Community.