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Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on (a) European Community draft legislation to create a single market in service; and (b) on the effect the proposals will have. 
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Jacqui Smith: The proposals, which were expected to be published in the form of a European Framework Directive in mid-December, are the commission's response to a request by leaders at the Lisbon European Council in 2000 that the internal market be made to work for services.
The aim is to remove those barriers to cross-border trade that affect all service sectors and all stages of the business processestablishment, use of inputs, promotion, distribution, sales, after-sales. Since the proposals have not yet been formally published, the Government cannot make any detailed comments at this point on their effect.
The UK has already expressed support for the aim of making the single market a reality for services believing that this will bring advantages to the UK economy, its businesses and consumers. Market services have been increasing in importance to the UK economy over many years and now account for the bulk of UK economic growth.
Greater competition and openness have the potential of providing to recipients more choice of better quality services at cheaper prices and reducing the cost of manufactured goods, thereby creating further gains for consumers. The implications for UK businesses would extend from traditional service companies, such as retailers and accountants, to manufacturers, who use and provide services.
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(26) Deprived areas are defined by the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit. See http://www.neighbourhood.gov.uk for further details
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what quantitive assessment she has made of the effect of (a) tariff rates and (b) tariff escalation on the economies and living standards of developing countries. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The best source of information on this topic are the large number of studies which have already been undertaken by international organisations such as the World Bank, IMF, UNCTAD and the OECD, and by charitable organisations such as Oxfam. The work of these organisations demonstrates the need to look at all barriers to trade and the need for fundamental trade policy reform.
It remains, however, very difficult to make an accurate quantitative economic assessment of the overall impact of tariffs and tariff escalation on developing country markets. The World Bank have, however, estimated that the comprehensive reform of all aspects of agricultural policies in developed countries could boost the income of developing countries by as much as $100 billion.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the effect of an agreement at the World Trade Organisation with the G20 on subsidies, tariffs and the Singapore issue on (a) the G20, (b) the United Kingdom, (c) the European Union and (d) the United States. 
An ambitious conclusion to the current round of WTO negotiations, aimed at reducing trade distorting subsidies, tariffs and non tariff barriers to international trade and investment, would improve the prospects of increased prosperity for all WTO members.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had since 17 September 2003 with her counterpart in the United States about (a) the desirability of and (b) the timetable for eliminating US subsidies to cotton producers. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: There is ongoing contact between UK and US officials about all aspects of the WTO Round, including on the question of support for cotton production. In view of the importance of this issue, the UK has provided Euro50,000 in technical assistance to help
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the four West African producer countries, all of which are LDCs, promote their case in the WTO. All WTO members are committed to substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support and we must work together to achieve that objective including on cotton subsidies.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether developing countries have produced a list of proposed products to be covered by the proposal in the Derbez text to remove export subsidies for products of particular interest to developing countries. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: For domestic support measures to qualify as 'green box' under WTO rules, they must have no, or at most minimal, trade-distorting effects on production. A full list of the support categories that can qualify as 'green box' is set out in Annex 2 of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture 1994.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: WTO rules classify 'blue box' support separately to 'amber box' support as it is less trade-distorting in impact. This is because blue box must take the form of a direct payment under a production-limiting programme and be:
(ii) made on 85 per cent. or less of the base level of production; or
(iii) (where applied to livestock) made on a fixed number of head.
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact of the Working Time Directive's opt-out clause on industrial relations in the UK. 
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Mr. Sutcliffe: The opt-out from the weekly working time limits provides workers with the choice to work longer hours if they want to and flexibility for employers. A recent study, "The Business Context to Long Hours Working" published by my department shows that employers thought the most common barrier to reducing the hours of staff was the needs of the business and workload (55 per cent. of respondents cited this), second to this was the concern that existing staff may resist the reduction in hours as it could limit their choice to work these hours and a reduction in their overtime pay (22 per cent.)
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