Dáil Éireann - Volume 343 - 22 June, 1983
Private Members' Business. - International Coffee Agreement: Motion.
Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs (Mr. J. O'Keeffe) Jim O'Keeffe
Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs (Mr. J. O'Keeffe): I move:
That Dáil Éireann approves the International Coffee Agreement, 1983, which has been laid before the Dáil.
Dáil approval of the terms of this agreement is necessary in accordance with Article 29.5.2º of the Constitution which stipulates that “the State shall not be bound by an International Agreement involving a charge upon public funds  unless the terms of the agreement shall have been approved by Dáil Éireann”.
An explanatory note has been circulated to Deputies. It outlines the provisions of the agreement and covers the cost of Irish participation.
The International Coffee Agreement, 1983, was concluded at the 38th Session of the International Coffee Council held at the Headquarters of the International Coffee Organisation in London in September 1982. It is open for signature at United Nations Headquarters until 30 June 1983 by parties to the International Coffee Agreement, 1976, and Governments invited to the negotiating sessions of the Council. The agreement is scheduled to enter into force on 1 October 1983 and instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval, are required to be deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations by that date.
The International Coffee Agreement, 1983, which replaces the International Coffee Agreement, 1976, will remain in force for a period of six years and may be renegotiated or extended, with or without amendment for a further period.
The main objectives of this agreement are to achieve a reasonable balance between world supply and demand for coffee, at prices fair to consumers and remunerative to producers, to avoid excessive fluctuations in world supplies, stocks and prices, which could be harmful to both producers and consumers and to promote and increase the consumption of coffee.
For the purpose of achieving these objectives an export quota system will apply. The quota will be shared between exporting members in relation to previous export performance and stocks held and will operate within a price range agreed each year by the council. Imports from non-members of the agreement are limited to a certain level and members are urged to increase coffee consumption through removal of any obstacles such as tariffs.
The agreement establishes the International Coffee Organisation to administer its provisions and supervise its operations. The organisation will function through the International Coffee  Council, an executive board, an executive director and staff.
The administrative expenses of the organisation in their operation of the agreement will be met by annual contributions by members. At this stage, it is not possible to assess accurately Ireland's share of these costs, because of the variables involved, such as the number of countries likely to adhere to the agreement. However, based on experience of the existing agreement, Ireland's annual contribution is estimated to be of the order of £10,000. Our imports of coffee amounted to £8 million in 1981 and £9.5 million in 1982.
Membership of the International Coffee Agreement, 1983, will afford Ireland the opportunity to demonstrate its readiness to support international measures to stabilise primary commodity prices and to reaffirm the importance which we attach to giving effect to UNC-TAD's Integrated Programme for Commodities at a time when commodity issues are central to the discussions taking place in Belgrade at the Sixth United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. It is in this spirit that I recommend the International Coffee Agreement, 1983, to the House.
Question put and agreed to.
Dáil Éireann 343 Private Members' Business. International Coffee Agreement: Motion.