That Dáil Éireann hereby approves of the Sugar (Prohibition of Import) Order, 1958.
Deputies are aware that the Sugar (Control of Import) Act, 1936, empowers the Government to limit by order the importation of sugar under licence. Each such order operates for one year only so that each year at this time, for the past 23 years, a motion in these terms has been submitted to and approved by the Dáil. This is the annual motion designed to keep arrangements for the importation of sugar the same as they have been hitherto.
I should mention that since the matter was before the Dáil last year this country has become a party to the International Sugar Agreement. It did so in October of last year. The principal objects of that agreement are to maintain stable conditions in the world sugar market. The first International sugar Agreement was negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations in 1953. It was decided at that time not to adhere to it and that decision was reaffirmed in 1956 when an International Conference to consider amendments to the original agreement was held.
A new agreement has now been framed which does not differ in any substantial degree from the old agreement and we have decided to adhere to it because we found that last year our non-membership of the agreement was reacting unfavourably on our recently developed export trade in sugar. Indeed, towards the end of last year because of our non-participation in the agreement that trade was brought to a standstill.
The agreement requires countries adhering to it to buy sugar in certain circumstances only from those countries which have signed the agreement. In the circumstances now prevailing it seems to be in our interest to be members and, indeed, the circumstances which led to a decision otherwise in 1953 and in 1956 have also changed in so far as all the important sugar-producing countries, including Brazil and Peru, are now within the agreement.