Anglo-Danish Bacon Agreement

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th November 1964.

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Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft 12:00 am, 25th November 1964

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what official consultations he had with Denmark on the Anglo-Danish Bacon Agreement during the European Free Trade Association talks at Geneva.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

None, Sir. There were routine discussions with Danish officials in Copenhagen earlier this month under the Agreed Minute of 1956, which provides for an annual joint review of bacon market prospects.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that reports emanating from Copenhagen suggest that, despite the demand by British producers for a bigger share of the market, no such arrangement has been reached? Is he aware further that the reason given for this is that we do not wish to upset Denmark in view of the calamitous treatment of Denmark and other E.F.T.A. countries in the last few days?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

I am not responsible for reports which come from any country outside this country, or, indeed, for reports in the Press here. What the hon. Gentleman has said is not really true. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there was provision in the Anglo-Danish Bacon Agreement for the negotiation of an increased share for British producers of the bacon market, to be reviewed annually? Does he intend to seek an increased share for the coming year?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

So far I have not taken a decision. The negotiations are still going on. The right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friend, the former Joint Parliamentary Secretary, are adult and mature enough to know that it is a continuation of the policy carried on by the previous Administration. We are bound to have talks with the Danes—these talks are still proceeding—and not only with the Danes but other suppliers. When I have had some details from my own negotiators I will make up my mind, make a decision, and make an announcement.

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

Are we to understand from the right hon. Gentleman that he is actually in the process of negotiating the level of the British producers' share of the bacon market for the next year? If that is so, though I agree that he would not like to give away the details of what he is seeking to get, is he in fact seeking an increase in the British share?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

The right hon. Gentleman knows that I cannot at this stage go further than I have done. I think that this is reasonable.