HC Deb 07 November 1986 vol 103 c630W
Mr. Bendall

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the adoption of an amendment to the current European Community tariff quota on wet, salted cod.

Mr. Alan Clark

As requested by the House of Commons Select committee on European Legislation, I wish to explain the agreement by the Government to the amendment to the operative date of the current tariff quota for wet, salted cod before it was possible for the Select committee to scrutinise it. There is no impact on the United Kingdom's interests. In order to meet the compelling economic needs of Portugal, agreement in principle was reached at the Fisheries Council on 22 September that the quota, which came into force on 2 July 1986, should be retroactive to 1 March 1986. The Government agreed to this exceptional measure, after satisfying itself that the use of retroactive application in this case met the conditions of the EC Council resolution of 27 June 1974 concerning measures to simplify customs administrations and although it 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 the Government acted in this way.