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Mr. Mike O'Brien: UK ministers held regular discussions with the United States on steel in the run-up to President Bush's decision on 4 December 2003 to remove the US steel safeguard tariffs. No ministerial level discussions have taken place since then.
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Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she expects to receive the report from the Office of Fair Trading into the code of practice between suppliers and supermarkets. [R] 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is expected to conclude its review of the Code of Practice governing supermarkets' relations with their suppliers shortly. The OFT will then send its results to DTI for formal consideration. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will wait for the results of that review before deciding if any action is necessary.
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negotiations to pursue a comprehensive approach across the board for all products and all sectors without a priori exceptions. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether it is her policy to seek bound reduction of high tariffs, particularly tariff plans, with a view to securing greater tariff harmonisation between countries. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether it is her policy to seek improved geographical coverage of (a) zero-duty sectoral agreements and (b) sectoral tariff harmonisation agreements. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Information on the value of UK trade in goods, by partner country, is published by HM Customs and Excise in Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom. Each annual publication contains data for the latest two years. Business Monitors MA20 for 1994 and 1996 and OTSA for 1998, 2000 and 2002 contain the complete set of information required. These publications are available in the Library.
(b) been registered on the Telephone Preference Service for 28 days or longer.
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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of (a) total employees, (b) female employees and (c) male employees in the UK worked an average of more than 48 hours per week in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: According to the Spring 2003 Labour Force Survey 15 per cent. of employees usually worked over 48 hours per week. 6 per cent. of female employees and 23 per cent. of male employees usually worked over 48 hours per week.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: To stimulate the expansion of trade and economic growth, the Government wants formulae that, consistent with the Doha Declaration, would substantially increase market access for all goods in all WTO member countries.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. A major element of Government policy is the creation of fair and open markets at home and aboard. Using the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and the European Community's Technical Barriers Regulation, we therefore work closely with UK industry, the European Commission and others in seeking to ensure that individual technical regulations are not unnecessarily trade restrictive and, in particular, to secure the removal or amelioration of those that harm UK exports.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the EU's stance at the Geneva trade talks on (a) industrial market access and (b) special and differential treatment. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK fully supports the EU's objective of securing an ambitious and comprehensive agreement on non-agricultural market access delivering benefits to all Members and an overall result of the
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Doha Development Agenda which reflects the needs of different WTO Members through appropriate Special and Differential Treatment.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether it is her policy to seek greater use of (a) mediation and (b) resolution of trade disputes prior to formal recourse to the World Trade Organisation dispute settlement understanding procedures. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government sees the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU), with a binding mechanism for resolving disputes, as one of the key pillars of the WTO and one of the great achievements of the Uruguay Round. We obviously welcome it when parties resolve a dispute without formal recourse to the DSU. We support the Communication issued by the Director-General of the WTO to the WTO membership in 2001 outlining his views on how to make better use of his power to use Good Offices, Conciliation and Mediation. We welcome in particular the use of mediation to resolve a potential dispute between the EU on the one hand and Thailand and the Philippines on the other regarding imports of canned tuna.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she had with Commissioners Lamy and Fischer before the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Cancun about the advisability of introducing new issues for which the developing countries would be unprepared to the conference agenda. 
Hilary Benn: I have been asked to reply. Ministers at the fourth WTO Ministerial Meeting in Doha agreed that negotiations on the four Singapore (i.e. New) Issues would take place after the Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference at Cancun. However this was subject to the condition of a decision being taken, by explicit consensus, on the framework of these negotiations. Such a consensus was not reached by Ministers at the Cancun conference and so negotiations have not started on the Singapore Issues.
Although I did not have any discussions directly with Commissioners Lamy or Fischler about this, since the Cancun ministerial predated my appointment as Secretary of State for International Development, UK Ministers repeatedly made clear that the New Issues were not development priorities. Therefore I welcome the fact that EU Trade Ministers agreed on 2 December that the European Community should "unbundle" the four issues and explore alternative, more flexible approaches, including the possibility of removing some, or all, of the New Issues from the Doha Round.
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