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Mr. Bradshaw: The UK cannot make a decision to ban imports of wild birds unilaterally. It is for the European Commission to consider, in conjunction with the views or representations of all European Union (EU) member states.
A temporary ban on the import of captive wild birds into the EU from third countries is currently in place until 31 May 2006. The Government are currently seeking views from interested parties on issues relating to this ban. Any representations to the Commission about extending it will be made after thorough consideration of any comments received.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether seizures of wild birds illegally imported into the UK have increased since the introduction of the EU ban on the import of live captive birds. 
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Government will be making representations for an extension of the EU ban on the import of live captive birds beyond 31 May. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Government are currently seeking views from interested parties on issues relating to the ban. Any representations to the European Commission about extending the ban will be made after thorough consideration of any comments we receive.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research the Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the introduction
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of a universal service obligation guaranteeing citizens access to a basic bank account; and if he will make a statement. 
In December 2004, the banks and the Government agreed to work towards the shared goal of halving the number of adults in households with no bank account of any kind and of having made significant progress in that direction within two years. The Financial Inclusion Taskforce has been asked to monitor progress toward this goal and its recent report concluded that steady progress had been made.
Ian Pearson [holding answer 30 March 2006]: UK Trade with China is growing strongly. Chinese figures for the first 11 months of 2005 shows that UK exports grew by 15 per cent.higher than any of our major European competitors (Germany 1 per cent., Italy 9 per cent.). Chinese exports of goods to the UK totalled £12.835 billion in 2005.
Ensuring that UK business is best placed to take advantage of the new opportunities that are becoming available as China's economy develops is a key priority for this Government. There are currently a number of government-to-government dialogues taking place between China and the UK, namely, the Chancellor's Asia Task Force, the China Task Force and the UK-China Joint Economic Trade Commission (JETC) which aim to tackle barriers to trade and promote two-way trade and investment.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received (a) supporting the free trade of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and (b) requesting that markets remain free of GMOs; and if he will make a statement. 
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has received (a) no recent representations supporting the free trade of genetically modified organisms and (b) a considerable volume of correspondence as part of a campaign calling for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to support the right of European countries to ban genetically modified food and crops and call for disputes over environmental, social and health issues to be dealt with by alternative institutions to the World Trade Organisation.
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Alun Michael [holding answer 18 April 2006]: I am unable to provide a statistical breakdown of how many Individuals have participated in the Home Computing Initiative Scheme in each year since 1999 or by region. This information is not available.
Mr. Howard: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will seek an amendment of European regulations to ensure that British notaries public are allowed to work in all EU member states; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: I refer the right hon. and learned Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope) in response to a similar question, on 21 March 2006, Official Report, column 302W.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cost was of running the South West of England Regional Development Agency offices in Australia, China, Japan and North America in each of the last five years; and what the budget is for these offices for the 200607 financial year. 
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the work of the overseas offices of the South West Regional Development Agency in Australia, China, Japan and North America. 
These offices are funded by the South West of England Regional Development Agency in support of its statutory purposes under the Regional
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Development Agencies Act 1998, subject to financial arrangements and reporting requirements also set out in the Act.
|Number of projects|
|USA||7||over 360 new jobs and over 800 jobs safeguarded|
|Japan||6||over 90 new jobs and over 540 jobs safeguarded|
|Australia||5||35 new jobs and 15 jobs safeguarded|
The Chinese economy is growing at almost 10 per cent. per annum and there is a recognition that the UK lags behind US, Japan and Germany in terms of identifying and exploiting opportunities for investment, trade and collaboration between academic institutions.
The China office aims to seek investment opportunities as its economy evolves from being predominantly a destination for foreign direct investment into an overseas investor itself. It has a role developing partnership opportunities and collaboration on research and development and teaching in support of regional universities. It also works to support UK Trade and Investment to ensure that trade opportunities for South West of England from this rapidly developing market are encouraged and supported.
The Agency plans an independent review of its overseas teams during this financial year. The review will inform the Agency before it commits to any funding beyond March 2007 and will explore the direct and indirect benefits that the overseas offices provide to attracting and retaining investment in the South West region.
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