HC Deb 10 March 1986 vol 93 cc356-7W
Mr. Teddy Taylor

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if the decision of the European Economic Community Commission to cease publishing the amount of subsidy given for exports of dairy produce is subject to the agreement of the management committee and whether this change of policy by the Commission applies to other products outwith the dairy sector;

(2) if he will seek to establish from the European Economic Commission the reasons why they have decided not to publish the appropriate rates of subsidy given for dairy exports; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gummer

Export refunds in the dairy sector are and will continue to be published, usually on a monthly basis. The Commission has however, recently stated that in the light of market conditions the rates for butter, butteroil and skimmed milk powder may be varied according to destination at short notice and for short periods. Rates set in this way will not be published but will be notified directly to member states which are responsible for passing the information on to the trade. The published rates will continue to apply to all other products and destinations.

The explanation given by the Commission for this change in procedure is the need to strengthen the Community's position on the world market by making it more difficult for competitors to undercut Community prices.

The Commission's action is based on the provision of article 17.5 of regulation 804/68 which says that where necessary the Commission may alter the refunds between meetings of the management committee. It does not apply to products outside the dairy sector.