HC Deb 23 April 1996 vol 276 c82W
Sir David Steel

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the position of Her Majesty's Government in the Council of Ministers of the EU with regard to the liberalisation of trade access by the Republic of South Africa to the EU; and if it will make it the policy to work for a fair and asymmetrical trade deal with particular emphasis on allowing as much market access for agricultural products as possible. [26093]

Mr. David Davis

The UK has consistently argued for an EU trade agreement with South Africa which will help South Africa's successful transition to a prosperous and stable non-racial democracy. The agreement should cover substantially all trade, with as much market access for agricultural products as possible. The mandate agreed at the Foreign Affairs Council on 25 March is not as liberal as we would have liked, and we therefore abstained in the vote and made a statement expressing our concerns. We will continue to work for as liberal an agreement as possible. We expect that the Commission will need more negotiating flexibility: we will respond sympathetically to any such request, and urge our EU partners to do likewise.