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Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has had with the Office of Fair Trading on minimum pricing as a means of tackling alcohol misuse. 
In the context of considering the options for tackling problems associated with excessive consumption of alcohol, both the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and my Department have provided advice to the
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Home Office on relevant aspects of domestic and European competition law. OFT and DTI officials have been involved in a number of relevant discussions, including on the particular issue of minimum pricing schemes. The Home Office's proposals on these matters were also raised briefly during a regular meeting between the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the Board of the OFT that took place in mid-January The Home Office launched its public consultation document Drinking Responsibly" on 25 January 2005
David Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the estimated number of people employed in call centres in the UK is; and what percentage of the work force that figure represents. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 7 March 2005]: The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recently begun to publish statistics for the number of jobs in enterprises whose main activity falls within Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) 74.86 (call centre activities). The number of jobs in SIC 74.86 is estimated as 20,000, averaged over 2003, approximately 0.07 per cent. of total work force jobs. Some call centre activity takes place within enterprises whose main activity is classified to other sectors e.g. financial services. The DTI study on the UK Call Centre Industry, published in May 2004, quoted an unofficial estimate of 790,000 jobs based on this wider definition.
Mr. Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industrywhat steps she is taking to ensure that economic partnership agreement are being negotiated in such a way as to benefit developing countries. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government warmly welcome the recent statements by the EU Trade Commissioner on the importance that he places on ensuring that the development needs of ACP countries are put at the heart of negotiations on economic partnership agreements. Ministers and officials are in regular contact with their counterparts in the European Commission and ACP Governments to discuss how the EPA negotiations are being taken forward to benefit developing countries. The Government are undertaking research on key issues to inform these negotiations and will share the outcome of this research with the European Commission and ACP Governments.
Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action she is taking to ensure the economic partnership agreements between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries give appropriate priority to development in those countries; and what representations she has made to the European Commission on the subject. 
As set out in the White Paper Making Globalisation a force for good", the Government are clear that the focus of the economic partnership agreements must broad-based, focusing not just on trade but also on political co-operation, technical assistance and trade-related capacity building,
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and be truly development-focused. The EU has stated that it has no offensive market access interests in negotiating economic partnership agreements, and the UK will seek to hold our EU partners to this. Ministers and officials are in regular contact with the Commission to discuss various aspects of the agreements and we are commissioning research into aspects of the negotiations to inform the policies of the European Commission and ACP countries.
Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the appropriate level of regional integration which African, Caribbean and Pacific countries should reach before committing to economic partnership agreements with the EU; and what representations she has made to the European Commission on the subject. 
Mr. Alexander: The Government warmly welcome the recent statements by the EU Trade Commissioner on the importance that he places on ensuring that the development needs of ACP countries are put at the heart of negotiations on economic partnership agreements. This includes enhancing existing regional integration initiatives, by building regional markets among developing countries, and strengthening regional producers. Before economic partnership agreements come into force, each region will need to have agreed a common external tariff, a timetable for removing the tariff barriers between members of the regional economic grouping and a process for harmonising regional trade-related rules. Negotiations are at an early stage; however, Ministers and officials are in regular contact with the European Commission on a number of issues.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme on the competitiveness of British industry in comparison to its European competitors. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Department published in 2004 an assessment of the implications of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for the competitiveness of British industry. The paper is available at: www.dti.gov.uk/energy/sepn/euetsimplications.pdf.
The Department also commissioned Ilex Energy Consulting in 2004 to produce a report on the impact on electricity prices across EU countries as a result of the ETS. This report is a available at: www.dti.gov.uk/energy/sepn/ilexetsfinal.pdf.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Department expects to reach an agreement with the European Commission on first phase exemption from EU Emissions Trading Scheme. 
We expect the UK's application for temporary exclusion from the EU ETS for installations covered by Climate Change Agreements to be made before Easter. We will then await the Commission's response and consideration by the Comitology Committee.
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Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much funding, and in what form, is being provided by the Government to assist trade associations and other industry representative bodies in addressing barriers to distributed generation, in pursuit of the goal to achieve 10 per cent. of electricity and 10gW of combined heat and power to be supplied by renewable sources. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: During 200405 the DTI expects to provide some £280,000 of direct support to trade associations and similar bodies to help in providing representation on various industry forums dealing with distributed generation-related issues, including renewables and combined heat and power. In addition the DTI expects to expend some £1.7 million during 200405 on specific projects aimed at the removal of barriers to the development of distributed generation or its impact on the electricity networks.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many times during the (a) Italian, (b) Irish and (c) Dutch presidency of the EU the EC-Argentina RTD Co-operation Steering Committee met; when and where these meetings took place; what UK Government expert was present; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander: The last Joint S and T Committee meeting with Argentina was held in Brussels on 15 November 2002. The next meeting is planned for the second half of 2005. These meetings are convened by the Commission and member states are not invited to participateUK officials will not therefore attend.
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