HC Deb 23 July 1986 vol 102 cc256-8W
Dr. Hampson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on 21 and 22 July.

Mrs. Chalker

My right hon. and learned Friend chaired a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Twelve meeting in political co-operation on the morning of 21 July. This was followed by a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on 21 and 22 July, also chaired by my right hon. and learned Friend, at which I and my hon. Friend the Minister for Trade represented the United Kingdom.

The Foreign Ministers of the Twelve had an exchange of views on South Africa on the basis of a report by my right hon. and learned Friend on his recent visit to the region and his talks in Washington on 18 July. The full support of the Twelve for the efforts of my right hon. and learned Friend during his current visit to South Africa was reiterated. There was also a discussion of East/West relations. My right hon. and learned Friend reported on the recent visit to London by Mr. Shevardnadze.

The Foreign Ministers reviewed the policy of the Twelve towards Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa and issued a statement. The Foreign Ministers meeting in the framework both of political co-operation and the Council reviewed the principles of the human rights policy of the European Community and its member states and issued a statement. Both statements have been placed in the Library of the House.

The Foreign Affairs Council heard a report from the Commission of the Community's trade relations with Japan. The Council reaffirmed its declaration of 10 March. It invited the Commission to press for early action by the Japanese Government to remove discriminatory barriers against imports of alcoholic drinks. It agreed that if there was no early progress, the Commission should instigate action under article XXIII of the GATT. The Council invited the Commission to select other market sectors for similar treatment, to review Japanese export practices with a view to obtaining redress where they violate GATT obligations and to report to the Council in the autumn.

The Council also discussed the Community's trade relations with the United States. It welcomed the interim solution reached on the trade dispute over the trade effects of enlargement of the Community and called on the United States to confirm the agreement reached in negotiations on semi-finished steel products. The Council reaffirmed the Community's willingness to work for an early conclusion to the citrus/pasta dispute on the basis of a balanced package which included adequate assurances from the United States that the Community's Mediterranean agreements would not be subject to further challenge. The Council repeated its intention to take equivalent action in the event of any further unilateral United States action to impede imports from the Community.

The Council agreed preferential access levels for New Zealand butter exports to the United Kingdom market of 76,500 and 74,500 tonnes for 1987 and 1988 respectively. This is a very satisfactory outcome. The Commission will make proposals before 1 August 1988 on the maintenance of the arrangements for New Zealand access after 1 January 1989.

The Council considered a revised mandate for negotiations with the Community's mediterranean preferential partners to take account of enlargement, and discussed economic and trade relations with the member countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council.

The Council agreed to explore urgently means of using the funds in the 1986 budget allocated to fight hunger in the world in accordance with existing programmes.

The Council discussed the appointment of members of the Economic and Social Committee of the European Community.

The Council adopted a Commission proposal on the total allowable catches for member states fishing in international waters covered by the North-West Atlantic Fisheries Organisation.

A useful meeting of the EC/Yugoslavia Co-operation Council which reviewed the operation of the EC/Yugoslavia agreement was held in the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council. There was also informal discussion of current political issues over a dinner attended by EC Foreign Ministers and the Yugoslav Ministers present.

Back to
Forward to