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13 Dec 2004 : Column 888W—continued

Northern Cyprus

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on direct UK trade links with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. [201333]

Mr. Alexander: The Government strongly support EU efforts to enable preferential direct trade with northern Cyprus. At the April General Affairs Council, EU Foreign Ministers committed to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. At the Council's request, the Commission produced a draft regulation to deliver on this commitment and enable preferential direct trade between the north and EU member states on a tariff quota system. This regulation, along with a regulation disbursing 259 million euros of aid to northern Cyprus, has yet to be agreed. The Government strongly support the presidency in their determination to agree these regulations and to fulfil the Council mandate to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.
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Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, if she will make a statement on the European Commission's investigation into the funding of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. [203071]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The European Commission have announced a formal investigation into the aid to the NDA that we notified in December 2003. The UK Government fully supports the EC State aid regime, understands the Commission's desire to investigate and will work closely with them throughout their investigation.

I also welcome the Commission's acknowledgement, in their press notice of 1 December 2004 announcing the opening of their investigation, that the transitional arrangements under which the NDA will start work on 1 April 2005 do not involve state aid. As part of these arrangements I have today issued a written statement under the Energy Act 2004 of my policy for crediting the Nuclear Decommissioning Funding Account.

Oil and Gas Supplies

Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, what percentage of the UK's (a) oil and (b) gas supplies reached the UK via transit routes that pass through Ukraine in the last period for which figures are available. [204379]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: It is not possible to determine what percentage of UK physical oil and gas supplied has transited through Ukraine although it is believed to be negligible. Most UK oil and gas supplies are produced indigenously with imports primarily sourced from Norway (for crude oil and gas) and Northern Europe (for oil products).

Regional Venture Capital Funds

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the projected allocation for regional venture capital funds is for (a) 2004–05, (b) 2005–06 and (c) 2006–07. [204176]

Nigel Griffiths: The DTI/SBS's projected allocation for the Regional Venture Capital Funds (RVCFs) is:
£ million
(a) 2004–0529
(b) 2005–0610
(c) 2006–075

The DTI/SBS anticipates that the total DTI/SBS commitment of up to £74 million will be invested by 2007.

UK Trade and Industry

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, what estimate she has made of the amount of export revenue created for small and medium-sized enterprises since 1997 by the activities of UK Trade and Industry. [201318]

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Mr. Alexander: UK Trade and Investment assists small and medium-sized companies to build their export capacity. The value of such assistance is measured through the percentage of firms improving their business performance rather than the value of exports generated. As published in UK Trade and Investment's recent Resource Accounts, the Autumn Performance report shows that during 2003, 35 per cent. of new-to-export firms and 43 per cent. of established exporters assisted by UK Trade and Investment improved their business performance.

UK Trade and Investment

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of the export trade funding received by UK Trade and Investment was handed over to the regional development agencies in the last period for which figures are available; and whether this amount is forecast to change. [203952]

Mr. Alexander: Export trade funding is not handed over to the regional development agencies (RDAs). UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) acts as the international trade arm of the RDAs. UKTIs international trade directors manage UKTI funding in each of the nine English regions, working in close partnership with RDAs to implement regional international trade strategies.

Wind Power

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps her Department is taking to encourage the use of photovoltaics as an alternative to wind power. [203552]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 7 December 2004, Official Report, column 475W to my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness, East, Nairn and Lochaber (Mr. Stewart).

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what part her Department played in the recent European Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition. [203553]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: As with previous European Wind Energy Association Conferences the host nation's Government Department with responsibility for renewables part sponsored the event. The DTI committed €150.000 in sponsorship for the event, was involved in the organising committee and had a stand in the conference exhibition giving information on our support for the renewables industry.

I attended the conference, gave a speech and toured the UK stands and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave the opening address. I later attended the dinner and gave a speech there.

The event was very successful attracting 1,500 participants and 260 exhibiting companies including many from the UK.

The event provided an excellent opportunity for UK businesses to showcase their expertise and capabilities and for the regions/regional development agencies to engage with firms looking to make investments in the UK.
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Accused Persons (Former Yugoslavia)

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has with the NATO authorities and others to make renewed attempts to capture those accused of genocide in the former Yugoslavia and Bosnia; and what discussions he has had with the Serbian Government on this. [202704]

Mr. MacShane [holding answer 7 December 2004]: Following the transfer of authority from the NATO mission in Bosnia (SFOR) to EU Force (EUFOR) Operation Althea on 2 December, EUFOR, together with the NATO HQ and in co-ordination with the local authorities at both state and entity level, will maintain efforts to locate and detain fugitive indictees within Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

The UK continues to urge all relevant authorities in Serbia and Montenegro (SaM), BiH and Croatia, including the Government of SaM and the relevant authorities in Belgrade and Podgorica, to fulfil their international obligation to co-operate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia by taking all necessary steps to apprehend and transfer to The Hague all fugitive indictees, in particular Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and Ante Gotovina. Failure to do so will continue to delay their progress towards closer integration in Euro-Atlantic structures.

Afghanistan (Heroin Production)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of how much heroin was produced in Afghanistan in each of the last three years; how much of that was exported to the UK in each year; what estimate he has made of each figure for the current year; and if he will make a statement. [200029]

Mr. Rammell: The UK, as lead nation, is committed to supporting the Afghan Government in the implementation of their comprehensive National Drug Control Strategy. I refer my hon. Friend to the written statement I made on Afghanistan: Counter Narcotics on 29 November 2004, Official Report, columns 17–18WS.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducts an annual survey into the level of opium poppy cultivation and production in Afghanistan.

According to the survey, the potential opium production in each of the last three years was estimated as follows:


The low tonnage in 2001 followed the highest ever recorded production figure in 1999 of 4,600 tonnes and 3,300 tonnes in 2000. In 2001, the Taliban banned cultivation. This ban was enforced with a combination
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of fear and bribery. It drove up the price of opium and the drug trade profited from increased prices for supplies from opium stockpiles.

There are no reliable figures as to how much of that opium is processed into heroin within Afghanistan.

Results of this year's survey showed that potential opium production was 4,200 tonnes. We estimate that approximately 25 to 30 tonnes a year of heroin is smuggled into the UK, that over 95 per cent. originated from Afghanistan and that it would require some 250 to 300 tonnes of opium to produce this amount of heroin. Working to eliminate opium production is vital for Afghanistan's future. As the UN survey makes clear, the challenge is substantial and complex.

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