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Corus Plc

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will ask Corus plc for a written assessment of the proposals submitted by the ISTC to restructure steel production at each plant in England and Wales. [160704]

Mr. Alan Johnson: Regrettably, Corus has taken its decision to proceed with the redundancies it outlined on 1 February and I do not think there is much to be gained from further contesting that decision. Our priority now is to put into place measures that will help redundant workers, their families and the communities in which they live as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced in this House on 3 May 2001, Official Report, column 962-66.

Mobile Phones

Mr. Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made by the Government on the recommendation made by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, chaired by Professor Sir William Stewart, on developing and maintaining a national database on base stations and their emissions. [160941]

Ms Hewitt: I have asked the Radiocommunications Agency (RA) to develop and maintain a public database giving details on all operating cellular base stations and their emissions, in response to the recommendations of the Independent Experts Group on Mobile Phones report chaired by Professor Sir William Stewart.

The RA has been making steady progress in implementing this recommendation. It is developing an internet based solution known as "Sitefinder". Sitefinder will employ a map-based facility indicating the location of cellular phone base stations. More information on a particular base station will be available by simply clicking on the position indicator for the base station in question.

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The mobile phone companies have been consulted during the development of this resource and have voluntarily agreed to disclose information on their respective base stations. RA have been formatting the data received from the cellular operators to make it compatible with the database software.

"Sitefinder" is currently undergoing strenuous system and user acceptance testing. It is hoped that "Sitefinder" should be made publicly available via the RA's website later this summer.

Redundancy Legislation

Ms Kelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to complete his Department's review of collective redundancy legislation. [160317]

Mr. Alan Johnson [holding answer 8 May 2001]: The Review will be completed as soon as possible, consistent with the need to carry out a thorough analysis of the facts and to involve a wide range of interested parties.

World Trade Organisation

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the Government's objectives with regards to environmentally friendly farming at the World Trade Organisation negotiations. [160449]

Mr. Caborn: EU Agriculture Ministers have adopted unanimous conclusions on the position of agriculture in WTO negotiations. These recognise the importance of further agricultural trade liberalisation as a contribution to economic growth.

They also emphasise the multifunctional character of agriculture, including its role in preserving the rural environment and in contributing to the viability of rural areas.

The Government recognise that agricultural trade liberalisation can have both positive and negative environmental effects, and to produce an effective solution it must be accompanied by environmental policies which are targeted on the delivery of environmental objectives. So, in pressing for further reductions in production-related support, the Government have consistently emphasised the importance of accompanying, targeted measures to conserve and enhance the rural environment and promote the rural economy.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what aims the United Kingdom Government have in the current round of World Trade Organisation negotiations; and if he will make a statement. [160448]

Mr. Caborn: Following the failure to launch a new round of trade talks at the Third Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation in Seattle in December 1999, it was agreed at the WTO General Council meeting on 7-8 February 2000 that the mandated negotiations on agriculture and services would take place in the Agriculture and Services Council respectively.

The UK's aims in the agriculture negotiations are to achieve further liberalisation of agricultural trade in line with our objectives for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to reduce the costs to consumers and

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taxpayers; to encourage the development of a viable and sustainable farming industry which is capable of competing without ongoing production support; and to conserve and enhance the rural environment and promote the rural economy through targeted measures.

In the current negotiations on services, the UK seeks further progressive liberalisation in line with the objectives of the General Agreement on Trade in Services. The UK, as the world's second largest exporter of services, has a major export interest in opening services markets around the world. We also support services liberalisation for the benefits it can bring to developing countries. These are reflected in the negotiating guidelines recently agreed by WTO Members which also recognise the right of WTO Members to regulate for national policy objectives. As the Government have made clear before, we will not be making any commitments that would call into question the public provision of health and education services in the UK.

The UK and EU remain committed to the launch of a new round of trade negotiations with a broad, inclusive agenda. Our position is the same as set out ahead of Seattle in the General Affairs Council (GAC) Conclusions of 26 October 1999. The next WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Doha, Qatar from 9-13 November 2001 is seen as the earliest opportunity at which a new Round may be launched.


Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received on the terms of reference of the review of the impact of NETA on small generators. [160250]

Mr. Hain: Draft Terms of Reference (ToR) for the review of the initial impact of NETA on smaller generators were published for consultation by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) on 9 April. Ofgem has received responses from 21 companies and representative organisations. These are currently being assessed by Ofgem who intend to submit revised ToR for my approval shortly. The final ToR will then be published by Ofgem along with a conclusions document summarising the responses and Ofgem's analysis of them. I want Ofgem to ensure that small generators including CHP, prosper under NETA.

Stop Now Orders

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what impact he expects the Stop Now Orders (Injunctions Directive) Regulations 2001 will have on the self-regulatory system in advertising; [160617]

Dr. Howells: It has always been the Government's policy to implement the EC Injunctions Directive (98/27/EC) in such a way as to preserve the self- regulatory system in advertising successfully established through the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry wrote to Lord Borrie, Chairman of the ASA, on

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5 April to reassure him that, while remaining consistent with the requirements of the directive, the Stop Now Orders (EC Directive) Regulations 2001 contain a number of controls to achieve this.

First, one of the criteria which must be met by private consumer organisations seeking to be named is a readiness and willingness to co-operate with other authorities, bodies and persons having responsibility for regulation of matters covered by the regulations, including advertising. This includes the ASA. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry would be obliged to refuse to name a private body seeking a designation to include advertising if it did not show that it was willing to co-operate with the ASA. If, having been designated, a named private qualified entity failed to co-operate with the ASA and so ceased to meet the criteria then my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry would be required to strike it off the list of designated bodies.

In addition, both public and private qualified entities must first consult the Director General of Fair Trading before bringing any proceedings. If more than one of the Director General and any public or private UK qualified entity are contemplating bringing proceedings the Director General may, in any particular case, direct which of these entities is to bring such proceedings, or that only he may do so. Where the Director General directs that only he may bring such proceedings the regulations expressly provide that he may take into account in reaching that decision whether the infringement could be stopped by other means (for example, by the ASA) in deciding whether or not to bring court proceedings. I am confident from discussions with the OFT that the Director General will use this provision to stop both public and private UK bodies from bypassing the ASA's system of self-regulation.

With these safeguards in place, and with formal memoranda of understanding between the Director General and enforcement bodies, including the ASA, I am confident that the ASA's self-regulatory regime will be preserved and strengthened.

I am placing a copy of the Secretary of State's letter and Lord Borrie's reply in the Library of the House.

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