§ Sir Michael Shaw
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the adoption of tariff quotas for fishery products agreed at the Fisheries Council in December 1985.
§ Mr. Alan Clark
As requested by the House of Commons Select Committee on European Legislation, I232W wish to explain the agreement by the Government to the adoption of tariff quotas for certain fishery products before the Select Committee had a proper opportunity to scrutinise them. The quotas were associated with a package of measures for the fisheries sector which included proposals for 1986 guide prices. The Select Committee had already recommended that the revised guide prices should be considered further by the House, but that this consideration should not delay their adoption. Their introduction to take effect from 1 January 1986 was of considerable importance to the United Kingdom fishing industry. When the Fisheries Council considered the above package on 16 December, it became clear that early adoption of the guide prices would be dependent on the acceptance of these additional, though short-term, tariff quotas which had been brought forward without warning at a late stage. In order to avoid delay, the United Kingdom agreed to the adoption of all the measures although the tariff quotas had not been scrutinised by Parliament. I regret that the normal parliamentary procedures were not followed on this occasion but, in the circumstances, I hope the House will understand why it was felt best in the overall United Kingdom interest to act in this way.