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30 Nov 2006 : Column 821Wcontinued
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the value was of UK exports to Iran in each year since 1997; and what percentage of all UK exports each figure represents. 
Mr. McCartney: The data requested is shown in the following table:
|UK exports of goods and services to Iran (£ million)||As a percentage of total UK exports of goods and services|
Balance of Payments basis.
Pink Book 2006, Table 9.3
Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the recent sale of a Vaughans of Leicester (Aerosystems) Mark II Prime Helipad to the government of Sudan; and what the circumstances were surrounding the granting of the export licence. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 28 November 2006]: On the basis of information made available to the Government by the exporter in question, I am satisfied that the helipad was not sold to the government of Sudan and that the end-user in this instance used the goods for humanitarian purposes.
The goods in question are not covered by the UK Military List, or controlled otherwise by UK Strategic Export legislation, and therefore did not require an export licence.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to introduce innovative fiscal incentives to support the growth of microgeneration. 
John Healey: I have been asked to reply.
The Government have already introduced a number of measures in support of microgeneration technologies. A reduced rate of VAT has been extended to all existing microgeneration technologies and Budget 2006 announced a further £50 million to enable installation of these technologies through the Low Carbon Buildings programme. In order to encourage business investment in energy-saving technologies the Government have also introduced enhanced capital allowances for some microgeneration technologies.
All decisions on tax are made by the Chancellor and announced as part of the Budget process.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what response he has made to the report, Unlocking the Power House, on prospects for deployment of microgeneration technology, by the Economic and Social Research Council. 
Malcolm Wicks: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State considers that the report Unlocking the Power House makes an important contribution to the growing body of research on the deployment of microgeneration technologies and will help to inform the development of the microgeneration aspects of the Energy White Paper.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what incentives he plans to introduce to promote micro-generation of electricity. 
Malcolm Wicks: The DTI already incentivises microgeneration through the £80 million Low Carbon Buildings capital grant programme. Owners of electricity generating products can benefit from access to the monetary benefits of Renewable Obligation Certificates and also payment for electricity supplied to the distribution network. In addition, most microgeneration products also benefit from a 5 per cent. rate of VAT. We will continue to keep our incentives for microgeneration under review.
The DTI published the Governments strategy for the promotion of microgeneration in March 2006. The strategy outlines measures aimed at tackling the barriers currently preventing widespread take-up of microgeneration.
Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he has taken to make UK companies aware of OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. 
Mr. McCartney: The Government are fully committed to the promotion and implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
In December 2004, the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry wrote to the chief executives/chairs of all FTSE 100 companies drawing their attention to the guidelines and in October this year officials gave a presentation to the Anti-Corruption Committee of the UK Branch of International Chambers of Commerce. In addition, Departments take available opportunities to draw attention to the guidelines, for example in FCO presentations on corporate social responsibility to the UK business community at home and overseas. We have also revamped the National Contact Point (NCP) which promotes the guidelines to all stakeholders in the United Kingdom. The NCP will, in consultation with stakeholders, evaluate past promotional activities and draw up an awareness-raising strategy both here in the UK and overseas to coincide with both new literature and a new updated website and will maintain an ongoing dialogue with stake holders over its implementation.
The Government want the revamped NCP to work with businesses, employees and other parties to deal with issues raised under the guidelines. We believe this approach will deliver a more open and transparent system in which all organisations can put their faith in encouraging responsible business practices.
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the budget of the National Consumer Council for 2006-07 will be finalised; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney [holding answer 27 November 2006]: The budget was finalised last month (see answer to parallel question 103261). I have nothing to add to the statement in the previous answer to this same question on 13 September 2006, Official Report, column 2330W.
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what he expects the National Consumer Council's budget to be for 2006-07. 
Mr. McCartney [holding answer 27 November 2006]: This Department is only responsible for part of the budget of the National Consumer Council. The allocations issued to them are as follows.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will place in the Library a copy of the Office of Science and Innovation's response to the Medical Research Council's draft business case for the future of the National Institute for Medical Research; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: The business case for the proposed redevelopment of the National Institute of Medical Research is still under preparation, and not for public consultation. To disclose the information requested would be prejudicial to the conduct of public affairs and would be likely to inhibit the free and frank provision of advice between the Medical Research Council and its parent department.
It is MRC's intention to publish the business case once completed.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact on (a) concurrent choice and (b) competition of the decision by Pfizer to sell its products through a single distribution channel; 
(2) if he will refer the proposal by Pfizer to sell its products through a single distribution channel from early 2007 to the Office of Fair Trading for review; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: The Department for Trade and Industry does not make assessments of competition in particular markets. Under the UK competition framework this is a matter for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which is the independent statutory body responsible for investigating competition issues which may affect markets. Therefore, any decision to investigate the new distribution channel put in operation by Pfizer is a matter for the OFT.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to safeguard the long-term future of the post office network. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government are working with the Post Office on a forward strategy for the Post Office network as a mater of priority. We aim to make announcement before Christmas.
Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many trading standards officers there are in England. 
Mr. McCartney: According to the most recent data available, 3,512 people are employed in the provision of the Trading Standards service in England. This includes both qualified and non-qualified staff.
Throughout Great Britain, local authorities employ 1,429 qualified Trading Standards Officers and 131 Trainee Trading Standards Officers. DTI has no record of the number of qualified officers in England alone.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the likely effect of the proposed Pacific Rim Free Trade Area on UK Trade with (a) China, (b) Japan, (c) Republic of Korea and (d) the United States of America. 
Mr. McCartney: None. The Pacific Rim Free Trade Area was briefly discussed at the APEC ministerial conference earlier this month. There is not enough detail at the moment for us to accurately assess the impact of any such agreement would have on UK trade interests.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the potential effect on bilateral trade of Vietnams accession to the World Trade Organisation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: Vietnams membership of the WTO will mean that foreign businesses, including those in the UK will be operating in a more transparent and predictable business environment. There will be also better protection for intellectual property rights.
The UK Government have always supported the accession of Vietnam to the WTO on the right terms. The European Commission negotiates the accession of new members to the WTO on behalf of the Community, and for practical purposes on behalf of member states. The UK has worked closely with the Commission throughout these negotiations to ensure that the UKs objectives and priorities have been taken into consideration. It is a measure of the success of the package that these UK objectives and priorities have to a significant extent been met.
The UK is already a major economic partner of Vietnam. The current value of UK investments in Vietnam is approximately £1.3 billion, making the UK one of the largest EU investors in the market, with around 74 investment licences issued by the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment to UK companies to date. WTO membership will secure further market access for UK trade and investment, and help to create a stable, more transparent and rule-of-law based business environment for further growth.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to encourage British businesses to invest in Vietnam; what support he is making available to British companies who seek to invest in Vietnam; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: HMG through UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), are regularly approached by British companies seeking to invest overseas including Vietnam. UKTI are able to offer advice about the investment climate in Vietnam.
UK Trade and Investment staff in Vietnam are also able to provide a variety of support to British companies seeking to invest in Vietnam, including the provision of advice on the local investment climate, introductions to local companies and government officials and lobbying, where appropriate, in support of an investment licence application. Underpinning this work has been our support for Vietnams accession to the WTO, and our lobbying for a more transparent, legally certain and fair investment environment in Vietnam.
Building strong trade and investment links with emerging markets such as Vietnam is at the core of UK
Trade and Investments new strategy. I hope to visit Vietnam next year in support of UK business interests and to explore how I might work with my Vietnamese counterpart to develop further the bilateral trade and investment relationship.
The UK is, of course, already one of the largest EU investors in Vietnam and our Ambassador there has recently reported a further significant upturn in interest in investment in Vietnam from British companies. As part of our increasing focus on this fast developing market, the UK Trade and Investment team in Vietnam will benefit from additional staff resource during 2007, allowing the team to continue to provide support and guidance to potential investors.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the key obstacles to British businesses seeking to increase trade with Vietnam; and what representations he is making to (a) the World Trade Organisation and (b) the Vietnamese Government regarding these obstacles. 
Mr. McCartney: Vietnam gained membership to the WTO earlier this month and the United Kingdom, along with our EU colleagues, has long supported Vietnams WTO accession. The UK values Vietnam as a trade and investment partner and during the WTO negotiation process the government has worked closely with the European Commission to address a number of market access issues with Vietnam.
Under UK Trade and Investments new five-year strategy Vietnam has been awarded emerging market status, which will see an increase in intergovernmental contact on a range of market access issues. As a first step in this direction, I plan to visit Vietnam next year to explore with my Vietnamese counterpart ways in which we can work together to develop the bilateral trade and investment relationship.
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