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3 May 2006 : Column 1650W—continued

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE

China/Vietnam

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government supports the procedures used by the European Commission to determine whether to impose anti-dumping duties on shoes from China and Vietnam. [66130]

Ian Pearson: The Government are content that the European Commission is carrying out its investigation into dumping of shoes with leather uppers from China and Vietnam, including its decision to impose provisional anti-dumping measures, in accordance with the procedures set down in Council Regulation (EC) 384/96 of 22 December 1995 (as amended) on protection against dumped imports from countries not members of the European Community. Nonetheless, the UK has
 
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questioned and continues to monitor a number of aspects of the investigation including, in particular, product coverage, the choice of analogue country for two non-market economies, decisions on market economy treatment of Chinese companies and the Community Interest assessment.

Gibraltar

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was given to the Government of Gibraltar for national security in each of the last five years. [67065]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The United Kingdom retains overall responsibility for the national security of Gibraltar. Overall Government expenditure on the two main forces responsible for this role in Gibraltar, namely, the Gibraltar Squadron and the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, over the past five years has been as follows:
£

Gibraltar SquadronRoyal Gibraltar Regiment
2001–02910,0004,384,000
2002–031,101,0004,733,000
2003–041,117,0004,798,000
2004–051,245,0005,116,000
2005–061,328,0005,638,000

The totals are £5,701,000 and £24,669,000 respectively over the five year period.

Home Working

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people in his Department have been enabled to work from home in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [67976]

Mr. Straw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not keep central records of the number of home workers. However, approximately 170 people are currently equipped with full remote laptop access to the FCO computer system.

India (Defence Exports)

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes have been made to the rules governing the export of (a) defence equipment and (b) certain dual-use-goods by the UK to India in the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [66239]

Mr. Straw: As for all destinations, export licence applications covering defence equipment to India are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated EU and national export licensing criteria, as announced by the then Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State (right hon. Peter Hain) in a written reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Laura Moffatt), on 26 October 2000, Official Report, columns 199–203W, taking account of the circumstances prevailing at the time and other relevant announced Government policies.
 
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In August 2005, the Government revised the position adopted in 2002 on our policy regarding the export of nuclear related items to India. The restrictions now in force are less stringent than those in force in 2002 and conform to the UK's current international obligations and non-proliferation commitments.

In line with our Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) commitments, we will continue to refuse applications in respect of all NSG Trigger List items, and applications in respect of all items on the NSG Dual-Use List, when they are destined for unsafeguarded nuclear fuel cycle or nuclear explosive activities, or when there is an unacceptable risk of diversion to such activities.

We will now, however, consider on a case-by-case basis licence applications for items on the NSG Dual-Use List destined for other activities. (Our March 2002 policy was to refuse all such exports to nuclear or nuclear-related end-users in India, regardless of the stated end-use of the item).

We will also consider all applications to export other items assessed as licensable, including those assessed as licensable under the weapons of mass destruction end-use control, on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the risk of use in, or diversion to, unsafeguarded nuclear fuel cycle or nuclear explosive activities, or acts of nuclear terrorism; the risk of possible onward transfer of these items to other states for proliferation purposes, including the recipient state's export control performance; and the potential utility of the items concerned for, and contribution that they would make to, such activities.

We will continue to consider applications for exports which will contribute to the physical protection or security of civil or military nuclear facilities or assets in India. Licences may be issued in exceptional cases, consistent with our obligations and commitments.

We will encourage contacts between UK nuclear scientists, academics and those working in or with the UK nuclear industry with their Indian counterparts, except where we consider that such contacts might be of assistance to the weapons-related aspects of its nuclear programme. Where such contacts involve the transfer of technology, which require export licences, we will continue to consider applications for such licences in accordance with the provisions of UK export control legislation, on a case-by-case basis.

International Arms Trade Treaty

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Prime Minister regarding the International Arms Trade treaty; and if he will make a statement. [67837]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister have regular discussions on a wide range of foreign policy issues including the International Arms Trade treaty. The commitment to work to secure such a treaty was a pledge in the Labour party's 2005 general election manifesto.
 
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Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to promote the Arms Trade Treaty (a) among other Governments and (b) at the United Nations. [68074]

Dr. Howells: The Government are committed to pursuing a treaty on the international trade in all conventional arms. We believe that such a treaty needs to include a wide range of signatories, including the world's major arms exporters. We are engaging with other countries at various levels, including through ministerial contacts, specific events, direct expert-level talks and using our network of overseas posts. Most recently a dedicated cross-Whitehall team visited Beijing (14 March) and Moscow (20 February) to discuss the initiative with their Chinese and Russian counterparts. I also made a speech on 23 March making the case for a treaty while on a visit to the United Nations in Geneva. Speaking to the assembled diplomatic community, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary also spoke about the UK's commitment to the arms trade treaty in a speech at Mansion House on 26 April. A further global lobbying exercise is also currently under way involving all of our overseas posts. This work will continue with the aim of building the consensus needed for the start of a formal process at the UN later this year.

International Tax and Investment Centre

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when his Department's officials have met International Tax and Investment Centre representatives since March 2003; and what subjects were discussed. [66769]

Ian Pearson: As far as I am aware, in the period in question, officials have discussed with International Tax and Investment Centre representatives the business environment in Azerbaijan and prospects for the future of the Iraqi oil sector.

Iraq

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place a copy of the (a) fiscal and regulatory frameworks for the oil industry in Iraq and (b) UK paper prepared for the Iraqi Ministry of Oil on this subject in the Library; what policy the Government have on funding the Iraqi oil industry; and if he will make a statement. [66766]

Dr. Howells: The Iraqi constitution, approved in a referendum on 15 October 2005, provides the basis of Iraqi law on the regulation of the oil industry in Iraq. Detailed fiscal and regulatory frameworks do not exist at present. An English translation of the constitution will be placed in the Library of the House. The practical implementation of the provisions of the constitution will be effected through further legislation, which we expect the incoming Government to take forward.

The UK has not prepared papers for the Iraqi Ministry of Oil on fiscal and regulatory frameworks for the Iraqi oil industry.

Providing a framework for securing the substantial investment needed in the Iraqi oil industry will be a key challenge for the incoming Government. There are several options open to the Iraqis and we encourage
 
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them to work with experienced development partners to assess the benefits of each option, and to ensure that Iraq's resources benefit its citizens.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports relating to Iraq the Government has received from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in its capacity as custodian of the Geneva Convention; whether the reports indicate breaches of the Convention by forces in Iraq; what (a) the UK's and (b) the Allied Command in Iraq's response has been; if he will place relevant correspondence between the ICRC and the Government in the Library; why the Government decided not to disclose such reports as a matter of course; if he will ensure in future that the Government exercises the option available to it to disclose such reports in full; and if he will make a statement. [67541]

Dr. Howells: The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) has unfettered access to British security detention facilities in southern Iraq and reports its findings to us, and we respond, on a confidential basis.

It is customary international practice for reports from the ICRC on security detention to remain confidential between the ICRC and the detaining power. We believe it is important to maintain that policy of confidentially so as to, inter alia, encourage the free and frank exchange of views about detention in all locations where ICRC carry out their valuable work.


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