§ Mr. Campbell-Savours
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what advice has been given to him by the Intervention Board of the EEC on the payment on account of payments that may be due.
(2) whether, in the case of non-annex II products, he intends to accelerate payments to British producers under the terms of regulation 3665/87;
(3) whether he is satisfied that in the case of complex claims by small companies for payments under Commission regulation 3665/87 no delays are currently taking place;
(4) what representations he has received from smaller companies on delays in payments due under the terms of Commission regulation 3665/87.
§ Mr. Donald Thompson
The Intervention Board is now in general paying claims for export refunds within 60 days of receipt of appropriate documentation. Exceptionally, more complex claims for non-annex II goods and claims for victualling supplies continue to be delayed. The payment position will be restored for the former in coming weeks and for the latter by the autumn. Payment on account would contravene the provision of EC regulations which require that the conformity of claims with the regulations should be verified prior to payment. This view has been confirmed by European Commission services. The board continues however to make compensation payments on all claims whose payment since 1 January 1988 has been unreasonably delayed under the compensation scheme announced to the House last July.
Exporters may apply under article 22 of Commission regulation (EEC) No. 3665/87 for advance payment once an export declaration has been accepted, and providing 47W that a security is lodged. In practice, the arrangement allows the provisional payment of premium rates of export refund in the same timescale as payments of standard rates. However, the Intervention Board is still required to check conformity with the relevant Community legislation before making the payment. The relative benefit of these different payment procedures is for commercial evaluation.