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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) DTI, (b) FCO, (c) other Government Departments, (d) secondees and (e) other staff work within the Joint Export Promotion Directorate; and if she will make a statement. 
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and FCO body responsible for trade development and promotion of inward investment. The breakdown of staff currently working for British Trade International is as follows:
|Number of staff|
|OGD plus Government Office||162|
|Overseas in staff years||1,522|
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (a) financial and (b) other support was provided for the Process Improvement Master Class in (i) 199899, (ii) 199900 and (iii) 200001; what budget there is for 200102; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Hewitt: The Process Improvement Master Class (PIMC) is one of the products offered by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Industry Forum, whose remit is to help small and medium enterprises improve their productivity. PIMC was developed for the automotive sector, but has also been used in the aerospace sector.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the progress she is making on putting policies in place to narrow the productivity gap relative to other industrialised countries. 
Ms Hewitt: Following the reviews of my Department's priorities and structure and business support, major changes in the Department took place in April this year geared to focusing policies more effectively on raising the UK's competitiveness and productivity, in particular by focussing on successful businesses, world class science and innovation, and fair markets,
As part of the evidence base used to monitor progress I have also published on 15 October-the XProductivity and competitiveness indicatorsupdate 2002". This publication benchmarks the UK's performance in each of the five drivers of productivity against that of our competitors.
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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many rural transfer advisors are in place; what plans she has to increase this number; what their objectives are; who is managing them; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: There are currently 31 rural transfer advisers (28 full time equivalent.) They have been appointed by Post Office Limited (POL) to prevent avoidable closures in the rural network. Rural transfer advisers are employees of POL Staffing levels are a matter for POL, dti Department of Trade and Industry
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle), of 22 October 2002, Official Report, column 248W, on the Small Business Service, which of the targets to be achieved by 31 October have been met. 
A National Start-up Forum has been established and considered an outline Action Plan at its first meeting in September. The forum will consider a final version at its second meeting in November with a view to publication of the Action Plan in December.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what programmes she has to promote and disseminate information about forthcoming trade fairs and exhibitions in the UK to potential trade visitors from overseas; and how much such programmes have cost in the past 12 months. 
Ms Hewitt: Trade Partners UK (TPUK) promotes forthcoming trade fairs and exhibitions in the UK through the trade fairs and exhibitions website, which is managed by Exhibition Audience Audit (EAA) and sponsored by TPUK at a cost of #2,025 per quarter (#8,100 per year). The website offers a comprehensive listing of all the consumer, public, industrial and trade exhibitions to be held in major venues around the UK.
The monthly TPUK magazine Overseas Trade, distributed to some 36,000 business readers around the world, includes a page of diary dates with a specific section on UK-based events. The annual budget for the magazine is #240,000.
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The TPUK Inward Mission Scheme is another effective way of strengthening UK activity overseas. It enables overseas buyers, journalists and business leaders to visit the UK's trade fairs, exhibitions and individual businesses. The annual cost of this scheme is some #400,000.
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 30 October 2002]: The TRIPS agreement lays down procedures for extending implementation deadlines for the Least Developed Countries (LDC). The general implementation deadline is 2005 but an extension to 2016 was agreed for pharmaceutical products at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha. There is no specific mechanism for extending TRIPS implementation deadlines for all developing countries.
The UK Government work through the EU on issues relating to the TRIPS agreement. The UK Government support the development of objective criteria to form the basis upon which extensions of TRIPS transition periods should be agreed. The UK Government therefore support the introduction into TRIPS of a mechanism for extending transition periods for individual developing countries.
Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many work permit holders given leave to enter the United Kingdom in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001 were employed in the IT sector; and what proportion of IT workers employed were admitted for the purpose of taking up a job in the sector. 
The total number of work permits issued in respect of information technology (IT) workers in 2000 and 2001 is 18,257 and 26,870 respectively, of which 12,548 and 15,976 respectively were issued prior to entry to the United Kingdom. Labour Force Survey figures for the total number of people employed in computer services are 500,000 in 2000 and 547,000 in 2001.