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Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the implications for British and other foreign investment in outer Mongolia of the recent introduction in that country of an excess profits windfall tax; and if he will take steps to impress upon the Mongolian authorities the importance of retaining a stable, reasonable, competitive, consistent and predictable tax regime for foreign companies investing in Mongolia. 
Mr. McCartney: The windfall tax to which the question refers is a tax of 68 per cent. on gold and copper, and was introduced by the Mongolian Parliament in May 2006. While I am not aware of any British investment in either of these sectors, this move will undoubtedly have negative implications for other foreign investors. British companies are however active in other sectors, albeit at an exploratory stage. In addition, a new minerals law is currently before the Mongolian Parliament, and as drafted, this law contains a number of provisions that in our view would discourage investment. Our embassy in Ulaanbaatar is monitoring the situation carefully, and we take every opportunity to impress upon the Government the need to provide a fair and transparent business environment in order to encourage the large-scale investment that the country badly needs.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the outcome was of the recent discussions between UK Government officials and European Union officials on Reduced Ignition Propensity cigarettes; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney [holding answer 29 June 2006]: There have been recent discussions within the General Product Safety Directive Committee meeting on 14 June 2006. The UK position in those discussions (agreed between my Department, the Department of Health and the Department for Communities and Local Government) was that there was sufficient evidence to recommend the development of a European technical standard for Reduced Ignition Propensity cigarettes. The European Commission has indicated that it will undertake further investigation of the need for such action.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) individuals and (b) businesses in (i) the Lewisham, Deptford constituency
and (ii) Lewisham borough received a grant for research and development in each of the past two years. 
Margaret Hodge: The London Development Agency, which has have responsibility for administering the Grant for Research and Development in London, has confirmed that no individuals or businesses have been offered grants in the Lewisham, Deptford constituency or within the London borough of Lewisham in the past two years.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the interpretation and implementation of the restriction of hazardous substances directive in the UK with that in (a) Germany, (b) Spain and (c) other European member states; and what assessment he has made of the extent of a risk of an illegal barrier to trade being created. 
Malcolm Wicks: The assessment of legislation in other member states is a matter for the European Commission. Owing to the single-market legal basis of the RoHS Directive, the Commission is obliged to take action where any member state's legislation does not fully meet the aims and objectives. In addition, it should be noted that member states cannot go beyond the requirements imposed by a single-market directive.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the published guidance by ORGALIME, The European Engineering Industries Association representing the interests of the mechanical, electrical, electronic and metalworking industries, on the scope of products included in the restriction of hazardous substances and waste electrical and electronic equipment directives; and whether the European Commission has informed him that it has accepted this guidance. 
Malcolm Wicks: The DTI has published its own guidance material for these two directives and the development of guidance by the industries affected by legislation is encouraged by the Department. It has to be understood, however, that such guidance is not legally binding and it should not conflict with the overall aims and objectives of the directives. The directives themselves, at a European level, and the regulations, at a UK level, are the only legally binding texts.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the National Weights and Measures Laboratory's proposed guidance on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive will bring into its ambit a significant proportion of fixed industrial manufacturing machinery; what assessment he has made of the extent to which the proposed guidance will conform with the EC's original intention for the Directive not to include large-scale stationary industrial tools; and whether the proposed guidance will expand on the requirements of the Directive. 
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many small businesses that began trading in 1997 have subsequently ceased trading in (a) Ribble Valley and (b) Lancashire; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: Value-added tax (VAT) registrations and deregistrations are the best official guide to the pattern of business starts and closures. Latest VAT data on the total number of registrations since 1997 and the number of these registrations that subsequently deregistered, to the end of 2004, are shown in the following table for (a) Ribble Valley and (b) Lancashire.
VAT registrations do not capture all start-up activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if their turnover falls below the compulsory VAT threshold, which has risen in each year since 1997. Only 1.8 million out of 4.3 million enterprises (42 per cent.) in the UK were registered for VAT at the start of 2004. Similarly, not all businesses that deregister will necessarily have closed.
|VAT registrations and subsequent deregistrations, 1997 to 2004( 1)|
|(1 )VAT registration and deregistration data are not available by size of business. However, 98 per cent. of the total stock of VAT registered businesses are small (0-49 employees). Source: Office for National Statistics, UK Business: Activity, Size and Location2005, available from http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp? vlnk =933. Source: New analysis of VAT survival rates data 1994 to 2003, Small Business Service, available at http://www.sbs.gov.uk/survival: SBS analysis of ONS Inter Departmental Business Register data.|
Business closures are part of the functioning of a dynamic economy and represent an increased willingness among the business population to take risks or the displacement of less productive and innovative firms by more productive ones. Regional disparities in start-up and closure rates can have their root in the different economic history and different opportunities available in each region. The Government's aim is for every region to achieve success and good economic growth, which is why increasing resources have been put at the disposal of each regional development agency.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate has been made of the number of companies in the UK which offer sunbeds for (a) hire and (b) sale to members of the public. 
Margaret Hodge: The Department has not made estimates of the number of companies in the UK which hire or sell sunbeds to members of the public. Official statistics on the relevant sections of the retail and service sectors, which are collected by the Office for National Statistics, are not sufficiently detailed to separately identify companies dealing in sunbeds.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent (a) representations he has received and (b) meetings he has had with members of the sunbed industry about trading issues. 
|Fuel||Thousand tonnes of fuel imported from Russia||Percentage of fuel imports originating from Russia|
| Source: HM Revenue and Customs|
Mr. Geoffrey Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the extent to which the UK regulatory framework encourages domestic and inward investment; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: International studies rate the UK as having one of the most favourable regulatory regimes for business in the world. In 2005 the OECD ranked the UK second only to Australia with regard to the quality of its product market regulation, while the World Bank placed the UK top among the major economies for regulatory quality.
An assessment of the UK's productivity and competitiveness is reported annually in the Productivity and Competitiveness Indicators. This reveals that the UK's light-touch product market regulation makes the UK an attractive place for foreign
investors: it has the highest stock of inward investment of any G7 country, as a percentage of GDP. The UK Government recognise that these benefits stem from an effective regulatory framework, which is why better regulation is an important focus of current Government policy.
The UK's competition regime also forms an important part of its regulatory framework, and here again independent assessment by expert peer reviewers KPMG placed the UK's regime third in the world in 2004. Also, the Global Competition Review has praised the UK's Competition Commission as one of the best competition enforcement agencies in the world, coming joint first (with the US Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice). Encouraging a high level of competition acts as a catalyst for firms to invest and innovate in order to stay ahead of their competitors.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of UK trade was with (a) the Baltic states and (b) each Baltic state in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. McCartney: The percentage of total UK trade with the Baltic states in 2005 was 0.34 per cent. The percentage of total UK trade in 2005 with Estonia was 0.10; with Latvia 0.16 per cent. and with Lithuania 0.09 per cent.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of how UK trade with (a) the Baltic states and (b) each Baltic state has developed since they joined the EU. 
|2003 (£ million)||2005 (£ million)||Percentage increase/decrease|
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cost to public funds was of servicing the activities of the Union Modernisation Fund in the last period for which records are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures are in place to ensure that trades unions do not breach the Union Modernisation Fund operating guidelines on political campaigning; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: All successful bidders are obliged to sign a grant offer letter setting out the terms on which money is provided and circumstances in which funds may be reclaimed. Grant offer terms are those applied to all DTI financial assistance schemes on the basis of Government accounting rules. Additional sanctions are available to the Secretary of State in case of misuse of funds through expenditure on political objects.
Section 116A(4) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (as inserted by section 55 of the Employment Relations Act 2004) prevents money from the Union Modernisation Fund being paid into the political fund of a union. Therefore, money from the Union Modernisation Fund cannot legally be used by a trade union for political objects.
Accountability is ensured through regular monitoring of progress and expenditure for all UMF projects. All projects are required to allow site visits by DTI officials. Failure to comply with monitoring activity may result in sanctions including withholding or reclaiming of funds.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how he monitors the effectiveness of (a) the Supervisory Board of the Union Modernisation Fund and (b) the Union Modernisation Fund; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Members of the Supervisory Board are selected by open competition. Recruitment is conducted in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies, with support from the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA). The Nolan Principles of Public Life, which are the foundations of the public appointments process and provide guidance on the standards expected of public appointees, apply to this appointment.
The DTI is working with Leeds University Business School to conduct a phased evaluation of the fund. Phase 1 is evaluating the operational effectiveness of the first round of bidding. Phase 2 will evaluate the success of supported projects and impact of fund monies via a series of case studies. All successful unions are obliged under grant offer terms to co-operate with this evaluation activity.
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