Potato Exports (United States).

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture. – in the House of Commons on 27th January 1930.

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Photo of Mr John Colville Mr John Colville , Midlothian and Peeblesshire Northern

68.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if any progress has been made in the matter of securing the admission of British potatoes to America; and what efforts are being made in that direction?

Photo of Sir James Blindell Sir James Blindell , Holland with Boston

71.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if be is aware that potato merchants in this country have substantial orders for British potatoes for exportation to the United States of America if the embargo against their importation is removed, and that American potato merchants are making representations to their Government with a view to its removal; and will he inform the House what action His Majesty's Government are taking in the matter?

Photo of Mr Noel Buxton Mr Noel Buxton , Norfolk Northern

I have explored the question of the restrictions now in force against the entry of British potatoes into the United States of America, and can see no hope of the removal of the embargo. The embargo was imposed on grounds of disease, and it is therefore impossible to challenge the right of an importing country to control its imports.

Photo of Sir James Blindell Sir James Blindell , Holland with Boston

Would it be possible for potatoes to be sent quite free from disease and a guarantee given to that effect at the moment?

Photo of Mr Noel Buxton Mr Noel Buxton , Norfolk Northern

No, Sir. I wish it were, but I regret to say that it is not possible.

Photo of Sir James Blindell Sir James Blindell , Holland with Boston

Are we to understand from that reply that it is impossible for British potatoes to be exported to America guaranteed free from disease?

Photo of Mr Noel Buxton Mr Noel Buxton , Norfolk Northern

There are certain districts where it would not be possible to give such a guarantee.

Photo of Sir James Blindell Sir James Blindell , Holland with Boston

Could we not export British potatoes, from any district, with a certificate that they are absolutely free from disease.

Photo of Mr Noel Buxton Mr Noel Buxton , Norfolk Northern

We could from certain districts. That is a matter of negotiation with the Government of the United States but I regret to say that the negotiations so far have not been successful.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury Lieut-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury , Chelmsford

Can we not do exactly the same as the United States, seeing that we are importing potatoes from other countries which cannot give a complete guarantee of immunity from disease?

Photo of Mr Noel Buxton Mr Noel Buxton , Norfolk Northern

Negotiations on the matter are being pursued as energetically as possible.

Photo of Sir James Millar Sir James Millar , Fife Eastern

Is it not the case that certificates can be provided in connection with the export of seed potatoes stating that they are free from disease; and why cannot similar certificates be provided for other potatoes?

Photo of Mr Noel Buxton Mr Noel Buxton , Norfolk Northern

That also is a part of the attempted negotiation.