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Miss Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will set out, including statistical information, the effect on the Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. 
My hon. Friend's constituents, like many others throughout Lancashire, will have benefited from my Department's Employment Rights policies which include National Minimum Wage, Working Time Directive, Part Time Working Regulations and improved Maternity Leave.
In the North West region my Department's policies have contributed to growth in employment by 107,000 and a fall in unemployment by 63,000; reductions in youth unemployment by 75 per cent. and long-term unemployment by 54 per cent.
Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proposals have been made by EU member states to impose (a) new and (b) additional dumping duties in respect of steel imports into the European Union in general, and those from Russia in particular. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: The European Commission carries out anti-dumping investigations on behalf of member states, normally on the basis of a complaint from EU industry. The Commission consults member states on the opening of investigations and on any proposals for provisional or definitive measures. The final decision on provisional measures is taken by the Commission; the final decision on definitive measures is taken by the Commission for Treaty of Paris products and by the Council of Ministers on a simple majority vote for Treaty of Rome products.
There are currently provisional or definitive anti-dumping measures in force on imports of seven steel products from a total of 17 different countries. Definitive measures are in force on imports of seamless pipes and tubes, and grain orientated electrical steel sheets from Russia. Provisional measures are in force on imports of steel wire ropes and cables from Russia.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what definition he uses of avoidable closure of a post office in the context of the Government's formal requirement on the post office to maintain the rural network. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: In the context of the Government's formal requirement on the post office to maintain the rural network and to prevent any avoidable closures of rural post offices, an unavoidable closure is when the post office can find no one suitable to take over from a
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departing subpostmaster, where no suitable premises remain available or where an associated retail business is no longer commercially viable.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate his Department has made of the number of sub post offices that (a) have closed and (b) will close as a result of compulsory computerisation. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: My Department has made no such estimates and I understand from the post office that they do not have historical data on the reasons for subpostmasters' resignations. Internal post office research in the form of exit interviews with subpostmasters has been undertaken in recent months and I understand that, from the sample of subpostmasters interviewed, 6 per cent. cited computerisation of the post office network as the reason for resignation. However, a subpostmaster's resignation, for whatever reason, does not automatically mean that the post office will close. The post office always advertise a vacancy in order to seek a suitable applicant to take over the office.
Dr. Howells: We are taking a number of important steps to increase consumer protection. We have recently implemented Distance Selling regulations which give additional legal protection to consumers purchasing direct from home, including via the Internet. We are promoting e-commerce initiatives to enhance EU and wider international co-operation and enforcement, and to identify further issues which need developing. We will shortly be taking further steps to protect consumers, including introducing Stop Now Orders, which will give Trading Standards Officers new enforcement powers, and legislation for the full pint of beer.
Mr. Byers [holding answer 5 February 2001]: I presented to the House on 25 July 2000, Official Report, columns 520-21W, the report of ECGD's Mission and Status Review. This report set out changes to ECGD's Mission, and set out an important agenda for change. ECGD is incorporating the conclusions of the Review into its strategic planning process and into corresponding change initiatives that will be implemented over the next three years.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will inquire into the circumstances under which the ECGD provided credit cover to a hotel project in Ghana involving the Bank of Scotland and International
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Generics; and what steps have been taken by the ECGD to ensure that the funds were used for the purposes for which they were intended. 
The Loan Agreement required that disbursements to the UK supplier, International Generics Ltd., would only be made against qualifying certificates in the form specified by the Loan Agreement, which were signed by the supplier's authorised signatory and accompanied by a supporting certificate from the architect for the relevant project. ECGD has since carried out extensive inquiries into this project, the results of which were passed to the DTI Companies Investigation Branch and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The DTI and SFO informed ECGD that they did not consider these cases suitable for investigation owing to the difficulty in finding a criminal offence that had occurred within UK jurisdiction, which they could investigate and prosecute.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what basis the ECGD considered International Generics to be a suitable beneficiary of export credit cover in 1994; and when they ceased to be considered suitable. 
Mr. Byers [holding answer 5 February 2001]: As an organisation carrying on business in the UK, supplying UK goods and services to organisations carrying on business outside the UK, International Generics were eligible, under the provisions of the Export and Investment Guarantees Act 1991, for ECGD cover in 1994. Under the Statement of Business Principles announced at the beginning of this year, ECGD will not only look at the payment risks, but also make thorough inquiries into the underlying quality of the projects, including their environmental, social and development impacts, put forward by International Generics (or indeed any other exporter) before committing cover.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reason the ECGD accepted a sovereign guarantee from the Bank of Ghana in 1994 against the advice of the IMF and World bank. 
Mr. Byers [holding answer 5 February 2001]: Neither the IMF nor the World bank gave ECGD any advice regarding the acceptance of Ghanaian sovereign guarantees. However, in providing guarantees, ECGD always sought, and received, assurances from the Ghanaian government that ECGD-backed borrowing was consistent with their agreements with the IMF. Indeed, there was no non-concessional borrowing limit in Ghana's agreement with the IMF until 1997.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many projects supported by the ECGD in the last 10 years have been subsequently discovered to have involved the misdirection of funds to purposes different from those approved by ECGD; and in which countries this occurred. 
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