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3 Apr 2003 : Column 790W—continued

Fur Imports

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what customs classifications apply to animal furs being imported into the country; and if she will make a statement; [105357]

Ms Hewitt: The commodity headings used, since 2000, for classifying animal furs being imported into the United Kingdom are given in the table. The classification is based on the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System, which incorporates the Combined Nomenclature of the European Communities. Within the UK, responsibility for the classification lies primarily with HM Customs and Excise.

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CommodityDescriptionNotes
43011000Raw furskins of mink, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43012000Raw furskins of rabbit or hare, whole, with or without head, tail or paws(a)
43013000Raw furskins of lamb, the following: Astrakhan, Broadtail, Caracul, Persian and similar lambs, Indian, Chinese, Mongolian or Tibetan lambs, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43014000Raw furskins of beaver, whole, with or without head, tail or paws(a)
43015000Raw furskins of muskrat, whole, with or without head, tail or paws(a)
43016000Raw furskins of fox, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43017010Raw furskins of whitecoat pups of harp seal and of pups of hooded seal (blue-backs), whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43017090Raw furskins of other seal, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43018010Raw furskins of sea otter or of nutria (coypu), whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43018030Raw furskins of marmot, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43018050Raw furskins of wild felines, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43018090Other raw furskins, whole, with or without head, tail or paws(a)
43018095Other raw furskins (including rabbit, hare, beaver or muskrat), whole, with or without head, tail or paws(b)
43019000Raw heads, tails, paws and other pieces or cuttings, suitable for furriers' use
43021100Tanned or dressed furskins of mink, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021200Tanned or dressed furskins of rabbit or hare, whole, with or without head, tail or paws(c)
43021935Tanned or dressed furskins of rabbit or hare, whole, with or without head, tail or paws(d)
43021300Tanned or dressed furskins of lamb, the following: Astrakhan, Broadtail, Caracul, Persian and similar lambs, Indian, Chinese, Mongolian or Tibetan lambs, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021910Tanned or dressed furskins of beaver, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021920Tanned or dressed furskins of muskrat, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021930Tanned or dressed furskins of fox, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021941Tanned or dressed furskins of whitecoat pups of harp seal and of pups of hooded seal (blue-backs), whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021949Tanned or dressed furskins of other seal, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021950Tanned or dressed furskins of sea otter or of nutria (coypu), whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021960Tanned or dressed furskins of marmot, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021970Tanned or dressed furskins of wild felines, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021980Tanned or dressed furskins of sheep or lambs, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021995Other tanned or dressed furskins, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43022000Tanned or dressed heads, tails, paws and other pieces or cuttings, suitable for furriers' use
43023010"Dropped" furskins
43023021Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of mink
43023025Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of rabbit or hare
43023031Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of lamb, the following: Astrakhan, Broadtail, Caracul, Persian and similar lambs, Indian, Chinese, Mongolian or Tibetan lambs
43023035Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of beaver
43023041Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of muskrat
43023045Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of fox
43023051Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of whitecoat pups of harp seal and of pups of hooded seal (blue-backs)
43023055Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of other seal
43023061Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of sea-otter or nutria (coypu)
43023065Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of marmot
43023071Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of wild felines
43023075Other whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped"

Notes:

From 2002, the four codes indicated by (a) were replaced by the one code indicated by (b). Changes such as these are negotiated as part of the continuing process of international harmonisation of customs codes negotiated at the World Customs Organisation and at EU level in the General Rules Committee. Also from 2002, the code indicated by (c) was replaced by the code indicated by (d).


UK imports of fur classified under "other" categories, since January 2000, in metric tonnes, are given in the table. In 2002 imports of furs classified as "other" were

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a third lower than in 2000 and nearly 90 per cent. lower than in 2001, despite including some additional products, as described under note (e) to the table.

Commodity codeDescription200020012002January 2003
43018090Other raw furskins, whole, with or without head, tail or paws9.5859.0(e)(e)
43018095Other raw furskins, whole, with or without head, tail or paws(e)(e)27.42.4
43021995Other tanned or dressed furskins, whole, with or without head, tail or paws129.266.660.63.2
43022000Tanned or dressed heads, tails, paws and other pieces or cuttings, suitable for furriers' use3.31.51.10.0
43023075Other whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped"24.024.820.10.4

(e) Until 2001, raw furskins of rabbit or hare, beaver and muskrat were separately identified. Since 2002 any imports of these products would have been included under code 43018095 as explained in notes concerning commodity codes (a) and (b) in the previous table.


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Iran

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total value of (a) exports to and (b) imports from Iran were in the last year for which figures are available. [106132]

Nigel Griffiths: The value of UK exports in 2002 was £402 million; imports were worth £36 million. These statistics are published by HM Customs and Excise in the December 2002 issue of OTS1, Overseas Trade Statistics, UK Trade with Countries Outside the European Community.

Iraq

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which British companies have (a) tendered for and (b) been awarded (i) contracts and (ii) sub-contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq. [105124]

Ms Hewitt: We wish to see UK companies play a substantial role in the humanitarian and redevelopment process in Iraq. We understand that a number of UK companies are pursuing contracts for post-conflict redevelopment work. It would not be appropriate to name individual companies.

Medical Research Council

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what plans she has to assess the working practices of the Medical Research Council; and if she will make a statement; [106247]

Ms Hewitt: The Medical Research Council (MRC) is internationally renowned for its promotion of excellent medical research. Its core mission is to support research that will have an impact on human health. Everyone is in agreement that it does this very well.

The Office of Science and Technology (OST) has processes in place to review the planned activities of all the Research Councils. Each council, including the MRC, submits an annual Operating Plan which sets

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out their planning and funding assumptions for the following year. The MRC will be publishing its 2003–04 Operating Plan on its website in due course.

Some of the recommendations and conclusions of the Select Committee report on the MRC issued on 25 March related to management and planning. We will be responding in detail to the recommendations of the SC report in due course and as part of this will consider what additional elements we might need to introduce in this specific case into the standard monitoring and reporting processes that we have with Research Councils in order to address the issues identified.

OST recognised some time ago that the processes underpinning the ability of the MRC to make a judgment of the financial implications of forward commitments could be improved. OST have been working with them to address this and are pleased with the progress made to date.

The MRC does not normally earmark funds for particular topics: research proposals in all areas will compete for the funding available. The MRC spent an estimated £19.1 million in 2001–02 on its reproductive health portfolio. Reproductive health research includes normal and abnormal fetal and placental development and growth, as well as conditions affecting pregnancy and childbirth.

The MRC always welcomes high quality applications for support into any aspect of human health and these are judged in open competition with other demands on funding. Awards will continue to be made according to their scientific quality and importance to human health.

In respect to funding alpha rated research projects, it is not possible to anticipate the number of applications MRC will receive, nor what the outcome of the subsequent peer review and rating will be at this stage in the cycle. However, set out as follows is a table representing the MRC's current estimate of the value of awards MRC will be making over the coming session:

Estimates for funding for sessions 2003–04 to 2005–06

These figures reflect the estimated value of awards which the MRC could make for the session which runs September to July as a useful guide to applicants. Alpha rated research projects would be included in all but the third row of the table. Whole life award values are the total value of awards. (A grant of £1 million per annum would show as a total of £5 million in the table). They do not represent MRC's annual expenditure on awards.

Whole life award values
£ million

2003–042004–052005–06
Provision for renewals of existing long-term investments (grants and units), to meet anticipated demand65105180
Career Establishment Grants666
Training/Career Development: Fellowships and studentships394041
SR2002 specific initiatives045105
All other new awards302938
Totals140225370


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These estimates are necessarily very approximate since final totals still depend critically on the mix of awards made from the different forms of MRC support and assume no other change in MRC's circumstances or calls on its budget.


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