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Tony Worthington (Clydebank and Milngavie): I am relieved that another annual report has not come out while I have been waiting to speak; however, it is a joy to have an opportunity to contribute to our debate.
I want to talk about a crucial issue that many people have mentionedtrade. The theme of my contribution to the globalisation and anti-globalisation debate is the issue of when we need more freedom and when we need more regulation. The territory is incredibly complicated: some people say they are for globalisation without qualification and others say they are against it without qualification, but both groups are wrong. I praise the Secretary of State and the Department for the report; the complexities of the issues that it tackles make them the most intellectually taxing that anyone has to deal with.
I raise the issue of trade because I fear that we are simply not doing enough on many aspects of trade and are not reducing poverty as much as we could because we are not sufficiently focused on trade. I use the word "trade" in a very broad sense, to cover any exchange relationships between the developed and developing worlds. I shall speak mainly about Africa, because I am afraid that it has become my obsession, as it has for many others.
Sub-Saharan Africa now accounts for only 1.3 per cent. of world tradeone third of its share at the beginning of the 1980s. It is falling behind, and the faults lie in the countries themselves and in our part of the world. While they are falling behind, we and they are stimulating terrorism, poverty, the collapse of the rule of law and so on. In the words of Mike Moore, director general of the World Trade Organisation,
We are rightly putting a lot of emphasis on universal basic education, but that will not pay off as much as we would want if we, the Americans and other developed countries pick off the brightest and best in what resembles a modern version of the 11-plus, whereby we put in the primary education but many of the brightest and best do not serve their country. They must have individual liberty, but it is worrying that one of the consequences of providing what we call aid is that we then help ourselves. In people terms, that happens a lot.
We know that that is the case because we are concerned in this country about how we are seeking to make good our shortage of teachers, nurses and scientists by taking a disproportionate number from the developing world. I think that we should have an analysis of the balance of trade in people. DFID was working on such a project some time ago, but I wonder whether there has been any real analysis of the account with regard to what we put in to help people and what we take out in terms of people.
Another aspect of trade is the trade in money. A great deal is said about the need to have foreign direct investment going into developing countries, but how can that work if the locals, and others, ship it out to money markets around the world in greater quantities than are coming in? I welcome the fact that some of the Nigerian Abacha money is to go back to Nigeria. Let us take that case as the most glaring, foul example. The Nigerian Government were seeking to reclaim £4 billion that had been taken out of Nigeria by one family. DFID's worldwide budget is £3.5 billion. One Nigerian family took £500 million more out of Nigeria than this country put into the developing world. Money is being extracted on that scale.
This is where the issue of regulation comes in. That we have allowed successive Nigerian Presidents, as well as Mobutu, Mugabe, Milosevic and Saddam Hussein, to get richer while we criticise them is simply scandalous. Similarly, huge amounts of Russian money have left the country and been recycled while Russia gets poorer. I am told that about 9,000 Russian firms are registered on the island of Cyprus. Movement of money is happening on
I hope that the return of the Abacha money is a sign of better things to come, but I am not sure. On our visit to Nigeriawe were the first Select Committee to go there following the return of democracyI could find no one who knew what was happening to the oil revenues. In theory, it had been the military who had been stealing them. As I went around I asked people, "Can we see the accounts?" This ought to be a simple process: Shell extracts oil; it has a value; some of the revenue will go to Shell and some to Nigeria. Yet it is impossible to get the answer to the question of where those oil revenues are going. In theory, if democracy and transparency have taken over, we should be able to see lots of schools and clinics opening, and lots of benefit to the Nigerian people. I can only conclude, because no one could point any of those things out to us, that the "food chain" remains pretty well undisturbed. Abacha and Abubakar may have gone, but the corruption carries on. That is simply not good enough.
The issue of oil revenues takes me on to other areas in which the rules of the WTO are simply irrelevant. These include diamond smuggling and timber harvesting. We have been extremely slow to realise the importance of setting up proper regulation and policing systems, and poorer countries have been plundered of their natural resources. Sierra Leone and Angola, for example, became totally ungovernable. Countries that were literally sitting on diamond mines or oil fields were plunged into poverty.
A small London-based NGO, Global Witness, found out more about the diamond issue in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and about how the forests of Cambodia were being plundered until they were virtually extinct, than all the intelligence resources of the world's Governments could find out. We must act on that information. I praise Global Witness for its achievements; I believe that it now has some ideas about how we could tackle corruption more effectively from the British company end than we have done so far. I look forward to hearing them.
I used to think of corruption as pilfering or slippagenot very seriousbut I now think that corruption in many so-called developing countries will prevent any growth at all. Its eradication is crucial to any progress and there must be more regulation. That requirement is reflected in part by the fact that the number of tax havens has grown astronomically in recent years.
We used to be able to reel off the tax havensthe Cayman Islands, Jersey, Guernsey and so onbut now the books show that there are tax havens everywhere. That, in part, is also down to the Americans, as they have stimulated free trade and there is a lack of regulation. However, following 11 September, we must come together and get the Americans on our side over development. As the hon. Member for Banbury (Tony Baldry) and my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) said, a lot of us are being invited to America to talk to Congressmen and Senators. The whole business of tax havens must be tackled.
If there was ever a case of corporate manslaughter, that must be it, so I was delighted recently when former Cape Asbestos workers in South Africa received compensation in our courts. However, we still allow that form of free trade to persist. That is not acceptable, and we need more regulation. As my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, Southall (Mr. Khabra) said, we must also tackle the practice of dumping out-of-date drugs and giving them to people who do not know how to use them, which causes more harm than good.
A number of Members have referred to AIDS, which is dramatically reducing life expectancy in Africa. We must face up to what the free market is doing: large, unrestricted sums of private money go into research on keeping prosperous Americans and Europeans alive, because that is profitable for the pharmaceutical companies, but hardly any private money and only limited sums of public money go on research into a vaccine that would prevent poor Africans from getting the disease in the first place.