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2 Feb 2004 : Column 640W—continued

Trade Balance (Wales)

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the balance of trade between Wales and (a) the

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rest of the United Kingdom, (b) the rest of the European Union and (c) the rest of the world was for each year since 1997. [151757]

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Ruth Kelly: Figures for trade in goods between Wales and the European Union, and for Wales and the rest of the world are shown in the following table:

Estimates of regional trade
£ million

Wales199719981999200020012002January to September 2003
Exports to EU4,1714,2844,4934,8844,7884,6913,422
Imports from EU1,2991,6492,0052,2341,9992,3761,821
Exports to Rest of the World1,5931,5211,8192,2882,3111,9281,909
Imports from Rest of the World2,3102,6713,5153,6043,7093,4752,210


Published in the 2003 Quarter 3 Regional Trade Statistics Press Release on 18 December 2003.

HM Customs and Excise do not collect information on the movement of traded goods between countries or regions within the UK.

These figures exclude the value of services and other intangibles included in the Balance of Payments, as the Balance of Payments estimates are published only for the UK as a whole.


Denzil Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total amount raised from VAT charged on goods imported into the United Kingdom was in each of the last three available financial years. [151723]

John Healey: The amount of import VAT received in the last three financial years was:

£ million

These figures include ex-warehouse VAT and are published in the Customs and Excise VAT Factsheet at

Importers registered for VAT reclaim import VAT on their VAT returns.


"Made in Britain" Identification

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has made to the European Commission with respect to their proposal that the "Made in Britain" identification be replaced by Made in Europe; and if she will make a statement. [150776]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: No proposal has been made to abolish national trading marks and replace them by a European Union wide trademark. The European Commission has produced a discussion document setting out options in considering possible EU origin marking. The document does not suggest abolition of national markings such as "Made in Britain". The Government are currently finalising its response to the Commission having consulted interested parties in the UK, including business, trade unions, retailers and consumer organisations. At a meeting with EU Trade Ministers on 25 January I made it clear that British companies would want to retain the ability to say "Made in Britain" or use other current marks and was assured by Commissioner Pascal Lamy that there was no proposal to interfere with companies continuing to do so.

Business Link

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will assess the impact of Business Link on company productivity. [152055]

Nigel Griffiths: Two studies of the impact of Business Link have concluded that it provides good value for money in terms of additional jobs, turnover, profits, assets, exports and productivity growth. The work will be updated this summer.

An integral part of the new Business Link Performance Management Framework is the inclusion of a Gross Value Added measure. This enables Business Link Operators to quantify—in terms of wealth creation and productivity improvements—the impact of their support to businesses with whom they have built a more intensive relationship. Data will be available later this year.

Call Centres

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she intends to publish the competitiveness survey of UK call centres which her Department has commissioned. [151828]

Ms Hewitt: The study will examine the key factors contributing to the relative competitiveness of UK call centres. Subject to progress of the study, we will publish a report on the study and its findings in April 2004.

Civil Servants

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many civil servants, broken down by grade, there are in the Department and the agencies for which the Department is responsible; and what the figures were in January 1997. [150263]

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Ms Hewitt: The Department of Trade and Industry and its agencies have reorganised their grading structures since 1997. This makes drawing direct comparison between current grades and those in 1997 very difficult.

In light of this, the following two tables have been provided:

To produce an equivalent table for 1997 would incur disproportionate cost.

Table 1: Staff on 1 January 1997 and as of the current date

1 January 19979,143
23 January 20049,224

Table 2: Breakdown of the current grade structure

Grade LevelHeadcount
AA Level498
AO Level2,346
EO Level1,576
HEO Level1,806
SEO Level834
Grade 7 Level1,089
Grade 6 Level398
Senior Civil Service468
Unknown Grade(5)68
Grand total9,224

(5) Unknown grade includes staff who have joined the Department from other organisations and who have not been fully assimilated into DTI systems.


Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Totnes dated 5 December 2003 concerning Dr. Walter King of Totnes and insurance cover for US markets. [152199]

Ms Hewitt: My office has no record of having received the letter from the hon. Member.

Dark Matter Project, Saltburn

Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been spent on the Dark Matter Project at Boulby Mine, Loftus, Saltburn-by-the-Sea since its inception. [149216]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 19 January 2004]: The DTI has, through the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), spent £13.366 million on the Dark Matter experiment at Boulby since 1992. This figure includes £2.4 million of a Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF) award totalling £3.1 million.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with the

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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs regarding the specifying of energy efficiency aims in the Energy White Paper. [151872]

Mr. Timms: The Energy White Paper was collectively agreed by Ministers (including the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) before being presented to Parliament in February 2003. Since then my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has met regularly with colleagues from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in a variety of fora, to discuss sustainable development and energy issues. Energy efficiency and the implementation of the energy efficiency aims in the Energy White Paper have formed part of those discussions.

Export Credits Guarantee Department (Iraq)

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the contracts for which Iraq incurred its outstanding debt to the Export Credit Guarantee Department, including the names of the projects and the UK companies concerned; and if she will make a statement on the Government's intention to recover this debt. [151718]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 29 January 2004]: ECGD has unrecovered claims of around £623 million arising from contracts with Iraq signed prior to the first Gulf conflict in 1991. This amount does not include interest, which, it is estimated, could bring the figure to around £1 billion.

These claims stem from more than 500 cases supporting the export of goods ranging from consumer items to heavy industrial equipment. The details of these contracts could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

The Government believe that Iraq's external debt is unsustainable and that creditors will need to agree a substantial reduction through a clear multilateral process in order to restore Iraq to sustainability. This is likely to lead to the writing off of the vast majority of Iraq's external debt.

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