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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many times she has (a) attended and (b) been absent from meetings of the EU Competitiveness Council since 2001; and which ministers attended in her absence on each occasion. 
|30 September 2002||Melanie Johnson (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Competition, Consumers and Markets)|
|14 November 2002||Melanie Johnson|
|26 November 2002||Patricia Hewitt (Secretary of State for Trade and Industry), Lord Sainsbury of Turville (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Science and Innovation) and Iain Gray (Scottish Executive Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning)|
|3 March 2003||Patricia Hewitt|
|13 May 2003||Alan Johnson (Minister of State for Employment Relations, Industry and the Regions)|
|19 May 2003||Alan Johnson|
|22 September 2003||Lord Sainsbury of Turville|
|10 November 2003||Jacqui Smith (Minister of State for Industry and the Regions and Deputy Minister for Women and Equality) and Andy Kerr (Scottish Executive Minister for Finance and Public Services)|
|2627 November 2003||Patricia Hewitt and Jacqui Smith|
|3 December 2003||No Minister [Anne Lambert (Deputy Permanent Representative) attended. Only one item debated.]|
|11 March 2004||Patricia Hewitt|
|1718 May 2004||Jacqui Smith|
|24 September 2004||Patricia Hewitt|
|2526 November 2004||Patricia Hewitt and Lord Sainsbury of Turville|
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much cover was made by the Export Credits Guarantee Department to (a) Nepal, (b) Zimbabwe, (c) Nigeria, (d) Rwanda, (e) Sierra Leone, (f) South Africa, (g) Pakistan, (h) Mozambique, (i) Zambia, (j) China, (k) Ethiopia, (l) Kenya, (m) Malawi, (n) Uganda, (o) Ghana, (p) Bangladesh, (q) India and (r) Tanzania in the last two years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Alexander: The following table shows the value of issued guarantees on these specified markets at current exchange rates, during the last two full financial years. (Zero values shown where applicable):
|Tanzania United Republic of||0||2,129,291|
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many applications for cover from Kellogg, Brown and Root the Export Credits Guarantee Department has considered since October 2003. 
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the guarantees issued to subsidiaries of Halliburton by the Export Credits Guarantee Department since 1 January 2003; and on what dates they were issued. 
Mr. Alexander: The only ECGD guarantee issued in connection with the business of a Halliburton subsidiary since 2003 relates to Kellogg, Brown and Root's application for oilfield services contracts for the Alibekmola field in Kazakhstan. ECGD's Offer of Cover was issued on 8 September 2004 and accepted on 3 November 2004.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reasons her Department and the Export Credits Guarantee Department revised the anti-corruption procedures brought into force on 1 May. 
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many applications for cover from M. W. Kellogg the Export Credits Guarantee Department has considered since October 2003. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the amount of cat and dog fur being imported into (a) the UK and
7 Dec 2004 : Column 469W
(b) other EU states; if she will make it her policy to ban such imports into the UK; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander: Establishing whether domestic cat or dog fur is entering the UK is difficult because any such fur entering the UK and other EU states would fall under the commodity codes for "other fur" which includes rabbit, musk-rat and beaver. It is not possible to identify what proportion of the "other fur" figure, if any, represents domestic dog or cat fur. Figures for fur imports into the UK were given in my answer to my hon. Friend's question on 13 July 2004, Official Report, columns 102024W.
The Government are committed to establishing the facts about this issue and to taking practical and proportionate action in response. The Government invited interested stakeholders to come forward with evidence that domestic dog and cat fur is on sale in the UK. No hard evidence has been provided to us. The Government therefore cannot support an import ban at this time.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has held with (a) EU member state Governments and (b) others, over the importation of cat and dog fur. 
Mr. Alexander: This year, the Department has written to all official contacts in member states to update them on the UK position on domestic cat and dog fur. We continue to raise this issue in dialogue with the EU Commission and we maintain particularly close contacts with officials from Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent assessment she has made of the accuracy of scientific testing to determine whether products contain (a) cat and (b) dog fur; and if she will make a statement. 
The DTI has been working with the Laboratory of Government Chemist Limited (LGC) to establish a scientific test which can readily determine between different species of fur. As reported by the then Minister for Trade and Investment, the hon. Member for East Ham (Mr. Timms) in a written statement to the House on 28 January 2004, Official Report, columns 1112WS, the first test trialled was unsatisfactory because industrial processing of fur tends to destroy its DNA. LGC Limited went on to test a technology which requires less DNA. Initial tests were disappointing but suggested that this method should not be discounted. During the course of this year, we understand the methodology has been refined and I have commissioned work to test the method again to establish whether its reliability has improved. I will report on the results of these tests in a written statement to the House in the new year.
7 Dec 2004 : Column 470W
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans the Government have to introduce restrictions on hidden charges imposed by secondary lenders which apply when the borrower falls into arrears. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Consumer Credit (Agreements)(Amendment) Regulations 2004 require that from 31 May 2005 all lenders must provide detail on arrears charges under the heading "Key Information" up front in the credit agreement form. The Consumer Credit (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2004 also require that, from the same date, these charges are flagged in pre contract information that must be given to the consumer to assist them shop around for the best deals. In addition, as part of the Consumer Credit Bill, we intend to introduce requirements for all lenders to provide annual statements and notices about fees and charges. This will mean that borrowers will be aware of the state of their accounts throughout the life of their loan.
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