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Part-time Work Directive

34. Judy Mallaber: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to publish the draft regulations and code of practice to implement the directive on part-time work. [95858]

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Mr. Alan Johnson: The draft regulations and Code of Practice will be published in early November. This will launch a consultation process on the Government proposals. We intend to implement the Directive in April next year.

Energy Markets

35. Mr. Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to secure the liberalisation of energy markets in the UK. [95859]

Mrs. Liddell: The Government are currently undertaking a major programme of liberalisation in the energy markets as outlined in the White Paper on energy sources for power generation (Cm 4071) in October 1998. This has included the opening up to competition of the UK gas supply market (completed in May 1998) and the UK electricity supply market (completed in May 1999). Work is also under way in my Department and in the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets to liberalise the gas and electricity wholesale trading arrangements and transmission capacity allocation.

Regional Selective Assistance

37. Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the implementation of the changes to the regional selective assistance map and associated issues indicated in his July statement; and if the proposed changes have been ratified by the European Commission. [95861]

Mr. Caborn: No.

Intellectual Property

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures he is introducing to clarify the ownership of intellectual property. [95836]

Dr. Howells: In general, intellectual property legislation provides for creators, such as inventors in the case of patents and authors for copyright, to be the first owners of rights.

Intellectual property may be transferred by assignment or vested by operation of law (as on death or bankruptcy) in the same way as other personal property. It is not for government to become involved in such acquisition, disposal or transfer. However, we shall continue to work to ensure that clarity of ownership of intellectual property in the public sector encourages and simplifies exploitation of research in universities and public sector research establishments.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the impact on employment in the UK if the European Meteor team loses their bid in the BVRAAM UK competition. [95456]

Mr. Alan Johnson: The Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM) competition is being run by the Ministry of Defence, with the Department of Trade and Industry being involved in the consideration of the industrial implications of the procurement. It would be inappropriate to publish material derived from information provided by companies to both MOD and

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DTI as part of a competitive bidding process. Our assessment considers the impact of the competing bids on the development of significant industrial and technological capabilities in the UK. The impact on employment levels in the UK is only one element of this.


Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his policy is regarding EU Directive 97/55/EC on comparative advertisements; and if he will make a statement. [95922]

Dr. Howells: Advertising which compares a company's product with those of a competitor has always been accepted in the UK. A system of regulatory and voluntary controls ensures that any comparison is accurate and fair so that consumers are able to judge the relative merits of products. However, it is important that there is a level playing field across Europe for those who wish to advertise by objectively comparing their products with those of a competitor. At present, this does not exist because of different regulations across the EU. The Government therefore welcome the Comparative Advertising Directive which will permit comparative advertising throughout the European Community on an equal basis.

The Directive is due to be implemented in member states by 23 April 2000. My Department has recently consulted on proposals to implement the Directive in UK law by amending the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988.

Pressure Equipment

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if regulations required by EC Council Directive 97/23/EC (O.J. No. L181, 9.7.97, p.1) regarding the harmonisation of laws concerning pressure equipment have been published in each EU country; and if he will list these regulations together with their proposed implementation dates [96453]

Mr. Alan Johnson: The Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999, which implement the Pressure Equipment Directive (97/23/EC), were laid before Parliament on 19 July 1999. The main provisions of the Regulations come into force on 29 November 1999, the date of application of the Directive. This is followed by a transitional period until 29 May 2002, when manufacturers may choose whether to comply with the national legislation in force on 29 November 1999 or with the Pressure Equipment Regulations.

It is for the European Commission to monitor the transposition of EU Directives across the Community and take appropriate action as necessary. The Commission publishes information on which Directives have been transposed on its CELEX database. This can be accessed on the parliamentary intranet (PDVN) as part of the JUSTIS database which is available in the Libraries of the House.

Sri Lanka

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what arms export licences have been issued for shipments to Sri Lanka since May 1997. [96419]

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Dr. Howells: For the period 2 May 1997 to 25 February 1999, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Mr. Gardiner) on 17 March 1999, Official Report, columns 683-84.

The entry in the relevant legislation under which the export of goods is controlled is known as their rating. The Export Control Organisation's computer databases have been interrogated and the following results were obtained. Between 26 February and 19 October 1999, 22 Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs) and 3 Open Individual Export Licences (OIELs) were issued for the export to consignees or end-users in Sri Lanka of goods subject to export control by being listed in Part III of Schedule 1 to the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994, commonly known as the Military List. Individual licences may cover a range of goods with various ratings (and OIELs may also cover a range of countries). Where this is so, the licence is included in the Table in the total for all of the relevant ratings.

Individual Licences issued between 26 February 1999 and 19 October 1999 for the export to Sri Lanka of goods on the Military List

RatingNumber of SIELs issued covering goods with this ratingNumber of OIELs issued covering goods with this rating

This information does not cover any Media OIELs that may have been issued during this period. Media OIELs authorise the export to all destinations of protective clothing, mainly for the protection of aid agency workers and journalists, when working in areas of conflict.

This information should be considered in light of the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Mr. Berry) on 27 July 1999, Official Report, columns 307-08.

In addition, Sri Lanka is a permitted destination on certain Open General Export Licences covering the export of goods on the Military List; copies of all Open General Export Licences valid at any time during the period are in the Library of the House.

Export Licensing

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many export licence applications have been referred to a interdepartmental committee for discussion or advice in each of the last six months; how

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many have been (a) granted and (b) refused; and what have been the (i) average, (ii) shortest and (iii) longest times between referral and decision. [96480]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 28 October 1999]: Extracting all of the information requested would involve disproportionate cost. However, in respect of Iran over the six month period 1 April 1999 to 30 September 1999, 53 export licences have been issued and seven applications refused. All of these have been considered by the relevant interdepartmental committee.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what dates the interdepartmental committee on export licensing will meet within the next month; what is the normal frequency of meetings; and what arrangements are in place to process urgent applications quickly. [96482]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 28 October 1999]: The next meeting of the relevant interdepartmental committee on export licence applications for Iran is scheduled for 9 November 1999. This committee meets once a month. All applications are dealt with case by case and within a time scale which allows for proper consideration.

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people are employed in his Department in examining arms export licence applications. [97062]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 2 November 1999]: Strategic export controls, including for goods entered in Part III of Schedule 1 to the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994 (known as the Military List) are administered by the Export Control Organisation (ECO), part of the DTI's Export Control and Non-Proliferation Directorate (XNP). Most ECO staff may, for various reasons, be required to examine licence applications for goods on the Military List. The ECO staff complement in 1999-2000 is 135.8 staff; the actual number in post at any one time may vary slightly from this figure.

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