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13. Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on negotiations with the USA in preparation for the World Trade Organisation ministerial conference in Hong Kong. 
Ian Pearson: The Government are in regular contact with the United States at all levels, official and ministerial, on a range of trade issues, including prospects for progress at the forthcoming ministerial conference in Hong Kong.
18. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the EU negotiating position for the forthcoming World Trade Organisation ministerial conference in Hong Kong. 
Meg Munn: The Commission for Equality and Human Rights will be established through the Equality Bill, which is currently making good progress through Parliament. Work is under way looking at the practical issues before the Commission opens its doors in October 2007
Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the staffing implications of the establishment of the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights. 
Meg Munn: The staffing arrangements of the Commission will be clarified as the organisational structure is developed. This detailed work will start shortly and will be developed in close consultation with key stakeholders, including the existing Commissions and their staff.
Barry Gardiner: I have not made a recent assessment. In Northern Ireland, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment's last assessment of insurance costs for firms there showed a 16.1 per cent. fall in the cost of premiums in 2004.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to heighten public awareness of (i) the dangers of fireworks and (ii) the effects of fireworks on animals; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Department produces a number of resources for stakeholders and intermediaries to use in raising awareness of the dangers of fireworks; a safety toolkit for fire brigades, trading standards and safety practitioners, educational resources for teachers and safety leaflets for the general public, for retailers and for the organisers of public displays. The Department has also worked with The Blue Cross (a pet charity) to publish a leaflet giving advice on reducing the effects of fireworks on animals. In the run-up to 5 November, these resources were supported by a PR campaign, which secured coverage in the press, radio and broadcast media. DTI TV fillers were also given airtime by all the main broadcasters. We will review this publicity activity in the light of the fireworks injury statistics in order to plan future fireworks awareness activity.
The UK is working to reduce the importation of illegally logged wood through domestic, EU and international action. This action includes, at the domestic level, implementing a progressive timber procurement policy where central Government seeks to procure timber and timber products that are legal and sustainable. This is having an impact on the wider UK timber market.
At the EU level, the UK was delighted that the EU Forestry Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) dossier received political agreement at the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 24 October 2005, under the UK's presidency of the European Union. This will allow the EU to enter into agreements with developing countries that export timber. These agreements will provide assistance to tackle illegal logging and back this assistance with a licensing scheme where the EU commits to only import timber licensed as being legal from those countries.
At the international level, the UK, with other EU partners, is in discussion with a range of timber producing countries, including the Russian Federation, Ghana and Malaysia about action they could take to tackle illegal logging. The UK is also working with other major timber consuming countries. This included getting G8 countries to commit to a range of actions to tackle illegal logging at the G8 Environment and Development ministerial on 1718 March 2005, part of the UK's G8 presidency.
The European Commission published its Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan in May 2003. This describes a package of measures to tackle illegal logging, including proposals that the EU enters into partnership agreements with timber
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producing countries to establish a licensing system designed to identify products and license them for export to the EU.
The UK is delighted that the proposal for a licensing system received political agreement at the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 24 October 2005, under the UK's presidency of the European Union. Government believes that as a first step to address illegal logging, it is necessary to build consensus with producing countries and make sure that we do not discriminate against legitimate trade. The EU FLEGT licensing scheme, with its innovative approach of bilateral trade agreements and development assistance for improving forest governance, will achieve this in the first instance.
The FLEGT Action Plan also proposes that the Commission look at other options to tackle illegal logging, including using Government procurement and introducing legislation to prevent the importation of illegally logged timber at a Member State or EU level. Government awaits this European Commission's report, which will allow us to take this work forward, including the options for action at the UK level.
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Office of Fair Trading is the United Kingdom's independent competition regulator. It has a duty to investigate and address anti-competitive conduct and enforce competition law. It has investigated the exchange of information between independent schools about the fees they charge. Its provisional findings are that 50 schools have breached Chapter One of the Competition Act which prohibits anti-competitive agreements. This is a matter for the Office if Fair Trading. The Government have no substantive role in individual cases.
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