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St. Kitts and Nevis
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
Of these 125 countries, a total of 111 signed the final act of the Uruguay round. Countries which did not sign the final act in Marrakech but can do so in the future in Geneva include : Burkina Faso, Chad, Dominica, Gambia, Grenada, Haiti, Lesotho, Maldives, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sierra Leone, Togo, Rwanda and Swaziland.
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what initiatives he has taken to ensure that his Department encourages training and enterprise councils in their policies for the development of local enterprise.
Mr. McLoughlin : My Department is working closely with training and enterprise councils to develop effective business support measures and to help develop the competitiveness of local businesses. In particular, I have asked the TECs to take the lead in bringing together local partnerships to establish a network of business links in England which will provide a single point of access to a wide range of high quality business advice and support services. Together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment, I will shortly be publishing strategic guidance for TECs which will emphasise, among others, the importance of developing effective plans for enterprise and ensuring that they mesh into wider programmes of action to improve competitiveness.
Column 604(2) if he will publish a list of post offices which have changed status and become community post offices since April 1992 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. McLoughlin : I understand from the Post Office that, since April 1992, 435 post offices have closed and that there have been three mergers of branch offices. In the same period, 125 offices are known to have reopened. A further 129 post offices have been converted to community office status. A copy of the full list of offices closed and of those converted to community status is being placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Nigel Evans : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what effect in financial and business terms he estimates the international piracy and counterfeiting trade have on the British record industry.
Mr. McLoughlin : The British Phonograph Industry, the record industry's trade association, has recently estimated that piracy is depriving the industry of one fifth of its potential export market, resulting in a loss in earnings of £160 million per annum at current values. I am not aware of any other estimates but fully recognise the importance to the industry of effective copyright protection overseas. The Government will continue to work actively to achieve this by all available means including the GATT, current negotiations within the World Intellectual Property Organisation on new international copyright agreements and European Community initiatives.
Mr. McLoughlin : My Department has received two representations from north Devon in 1994 about the future of rural sub-post offices. In addition, the chief executive of Devon county council has written on the same subject.
Mr. Alton : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what are his plans for consulting small and medium-sized enterprises on their needs to ensure that their competitiveness in the European Economic Area according to the Community guidelines for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Mr. McLoughlin : My Department continues to be in constant liaison with small and medium-sized enterprises, through discussions and through its research programme. It continues to discuss the needs of SMEs with small firms' representative organisations, academics and other policy makers. My Department also consults the networks of training and enterprise councils, European information centres, and the developing network of business links. This continuing dialogue with SMEs and with all the key players in the field ensures that we are aware of, and address, the problems and needs of SMEs in the United Kingdom.
We seek to influence the European Commission's directorate-general XXIII to keep regulations to a
Column 605minimum and to ensure that any assistance for SMEs is targeted where it will have most benefit, and that European assistance is provided only where it is not more appropriately provided at member state level.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish a table showing (a) direct investment overseas and (b) inward direct investment in cash, US dollar, prices in (i) the United Kingdom and (ii) Germany in each year since 1979.
Mr. Sainsbury : The information requested is set out in the two tables. They show figures for outward and inward foreign direct investment respectively. These figures are net figures. Therefore, inward investment in the United Kingdom is measured by adding up the following flows :
(a) foreign investment in the United Kingdom ;
(b) the acquisition by a foreign company of previously United Kingdom-held shares in United Kingdom companies were :
(i) the acquisition leads to the foreign company holding more than 20 per cent. of the United Kingdom firm ; or
(ii) where there is an increase of 20 per cent. or more in a foreign firm's share holdings in a United Kingdom company above that 20 per cent. figure ;
(c) profit retained in the United Kingdom by foreign-owned companies ;
(d) the repayment to United Kingdom companies of loans previously made to their parent/subsidiaries overseas ; and
(e) cash injections from foreign companies into their United Kingdom-owned subsidiaries ;
and then deducting from this aggregate :
(a) sales of foreign-owned companies or shares in foreign-owned companies in the United Kingdom to United Kingdom residents above the same 20 per cent. thresholds ;
(b) profits repatriated from the United Kingdom by foreign-owned companies ; and
(c) the repayment by United Kingdom companies of loans made by their overseas parent/subsidiaries.
All the figures in the tables are compiled using an equivalent methodology.
The data come from national sources. Although these are the best sources available, care is needed in the interpretation of the figures. Differences in the definition of foreign direct investment used in the United Kingdom and Germany mean that the data are not strictly comparable. Furthermore, the figures are produced from the results of a sample survey, so both sets are subject to a degree of uncertainty. More recent data are also subject to quite large revisions. Finally, both sets of figures have been converted from the domestic currency into dollars, so exchange rates will have an influence on the dollar figures that emerge.
Flows of Outward Foreign Direct Investment 1979-92 $ billions |United |Germany<2> |Kingdom<1> -------------------------------------------- 1979 |6.4 |4.5 1980 |7.9 |4.0 1981 |9.4 |3.9 1982 |3.7 |2.5 1983 |5.3 |3.2 1984 |7.7 |4.4 1985 |11.1 |4.8 1986 |17.1 |9.6 1987 |30.8 |9.1 1988 |37.2 |11.4 1989 |35.2 |14.5 1990 |18.0 |23.1 1991 |16.5 |22.3 1992 |17.9 |18.0 Source: CSO, OECD. <1> United Kingdom data excludes activities of oil companies before 1984. Includes reinvested earnings. <2> Data before July 1990 relates to West Germany only. Excludes reinvested earnings.
Flows of Inward Foreign Direct Investment 1979-92 $ billions |United |Germany<2> |Kingdom<1> -------------------------------------------- 1979 |3.7 |1.7 1980 |5.9 |0.4 1981 |2.0 |0.3 1982 |2.0 |0.8 1983 |3.1 |1.8 1984<3> |-0.3 |0.6 1985 |5.7 |0.6 1986 |8.3 |1.2 1987 |14.4 |1.9 1988 |20.6 |1.2 1989 |28.5 |7.1 1990 |30.5 |2.3 1991 |14.4 |3.2 1992 |16.3 |3.9 Source: CSO, OECD. <1> United Kingdom data excludes activities of oil companies before 1984. Includes reinvested earnings. <2> Data before July 1990 relates to West Germany only. Excludes reinvested earnings. <3> The negative figure for United Kingdom inward investment in 1984 represents a net disinvestment by foreign owned companies in that year.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish a table showing the expenditure in cash and standard price terms and the number of projects (a) submitted to and (b) approved by (i) the advanced technology programme and (ii) the support for innovation programme in each year since the establishment of the programme.
For advanced technology programme, the information requested is shown in the table.
Year |Number of |Number of |Expenditure |Expenditure |projects submitted|projects approved |in cash terms |in real terms at |1992-93 prices |£ million |£ million ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1988-89 |145 |16 |8.1 |10.4 1989-90 |76 |83 |8.7 |10.4 1990-91 |72 |58 |11.8 |13.0 1991-92 |64 |64 |20.2 |21.0 1992-93 |141 |39 |28.8 |28.8 1993-94 |37 |64 |19.1 |18.5
"Eurostatistics (data for short-term analysis)", published by Eurostat, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he expects to bring forward legislation for statutory interest on trade debts ; what representations he has received from the Institute of Credit Management on the subject ; and what was his response.
Mr. McLoughlin : My noble Friend the Minister with responsibility for small firms and consumer affairs has received a response to the Department of Trade and Industry consultation paper "Late Payment of Commercial Debt" from the Institute of Credit Management. The institute's contribution has been acknowledged and will be carefully considered with other responses.
The consultation paper sought the views of the business community on options to address late payment, including legislation for a statutory right to interest and a British standard for prompt payment. Responses to the consultation paper are currently being examined.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what account will be taken by his Department of postal services for visually impaired people within any future review of postal services in the United Kingdom.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 19 April 1994] : The Post Office currently operates the articles for the blind scheme which provides for the free transmission of articles for the visually impaired. In the course of the current review of the structure and organisation of the Post Office, Ministers have assured the Royal National Institute for the Blind that under any outcome the scheme will continue as currently constituted.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will outline the process for the approval of any changes to telecommunications apparatus, indicating the role played by the British Approvals Board of Telecommunications of Oftel and his Department in making approvals.