10 March, 1986.
Fruit Importers of Ireland Ltd.
Fruit Exchange Building
Little Green Market
The Committee is considering the question of the effect of the South African policy of Apartheid on development in the Southern African region and hopes to issue a report on the subject before the end of March. A matter arising in the context of the proposed report is the Government’s announcement of a ban on the importation of South African fruit and vegetables.
The Committee understands that your company is among those which may be affected by the imposition of such a ban. Accordingly it would be interested to have your view on the possible effects of the ban on the
(i)market supply of the particular fruit and vegetables imported from South Africa
(ii)employment in the fruit and vegetable sector.
Please feel free to contact me by phone for clarification if necessary.
G. F. Ansbro
Clerk to the Committee
I BERESFORD STREET, DUBLIN 7 IRELAND
TELEPHONE 01 - 730200
TELEGRAMS: FRUITIMPO, DUBLIN
G.F. Ansbro Esq.
Clerk to the Committee
Joint Committee on Cooperation with Developing Countries
14th March 1986
Dear Mr Ansbro,
I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 10 March 1986 and received yesterday.
In view of the likelihood of a decision being made in the near future regarding the imports of fresh fruit from South Africa, it is of vital importance to us that we, as a company with 500 full time employees, are advised as a matter of urgency of the Government’s intentions in relation to this matter. We have no particular brief for South Africa as a source of supply except that, from a commercial point of view, we have been dealing with them for many years on a proper and satisfactory basis. The quality and packaging of their fruit has been excellent and, at various stages, they have supplies which are not available in a reasonable or satisfactory way from other sources. There is a bad political situation in South Africa but, at various times in the last few years, something similar could be said of other producing areas such as Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Philippines and Greece, also East European countries including Hungary and Poland. Unfortunately, it is sad to say that there are not all that many of the producing countries where the regimes is all that we might wish.
We have made whatever arrangements possible with producers other than South Africa to cover part of our requirements but there has been a limit to what we could achieve. We have commitments at the present time to South Africa and also to our customers and employees, therefore, if there should be restrictions imposed, it would be essential that we be given adequate notice to try and deal with the situation. It should always be remembered that we are dealing with highly perishable goods and that market prices can fluctuate dramatically. It would be very difficult for us to off-load supplies intended for Ireland on to another market. It would also be impossible for us to obtain alternative suppliers at short notice. Arrangements are generally made six to twelve months before commencement of each season.
In our opinion curtailment of South African goods would not be effective unless it was enforced also by the EEC as a whole and by the UK in particular.
Patrick G. McNamee