HC Deb 22 March 2001 vol 365 c313W
Miss McIntosh

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had with(a) the European Commissioner for Development and (b) his European counterparts on (i) the recent amendments to proposals for the everything But arms initiative and (ii) the implications of these proposals for United Kingdom sugar producers; and if he will make a statement. [153556]

Mr. Caborn

The Government welcome the European Union's recent agreement to the everything But arms proposal which has now led to the EU's removal of tariffs from all remaining imports from the 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the world, subject to transitional arrangements for bananas, rice and sugar only. This resulted from ongoing discussions held by the Government with other EU member states and the European Commission, an important part of which was consideration of the implications of these proposals both for ACP sugar exporters and UK sugar producers.

It is the Government's view that LDCs, because of their low level of economic development and poor infrastructure, are not in a position to export large amounts of sugar in the short term. This, coupled with the arrangements for tariff quotas for sugar through until 1 July 2009, means that the short term implications for UK sugar producers are negligible.