HC Deb 12 December 1977 vol 941 cc7-8
7. Mr. Biffen

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the estimated current annual value of British exports to and imports from Spain, Portugal and Greece as a percentage of current trade with non-Communist European countries.

The Under-Secretary of State for Trade (Mr. Michael Meacher)

In the 12 months to October 1977, United Kingdom exports to and imports from these countries together were £967 million and £751 million respectively, representing 6 per cent. and 4 per cent. of our trade with non-Communist European countries.

Mr. Biffen

Could the hon. Gentleman have an assessment made of that trade, to indicate whether there are any particularly sensitive items which will require a protracted transitional arrangement should these countries be brought within an enlarged Community, and report to the House accordingly?

Mr. Meacher

Yes, Sir. We shall certainly do that, but I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the transitional arrangements will include a reciprocal safeguards clause. However, perhaps the most sensitive item is textiles. There have been negotiations on that subject with all three countries, in view of the renegotiation of the MFA with the 30 low-cost countries.

Mr. Ioan Evans

What calculations have been made of the effect on the trade balance if Spain, Portugal and Greece come into the Common Market and on the effect of the common agricultural policy applied to those countries? Will there be wine, sherry and port lakes in Europe?

Mr. Meacher

I cannot give my hon. Friend any precise estimates, but we are concerned about the effect on agricultural goods. There will have to be a Mediterranean agricultural régime, since present measures apply only to Northern European agriculture. Our concern for radical reform of the CAP will, in fact, be strengthened by the accession of the three new countries.

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