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28 Mar 2007 : Column 1607W—continued

Sudan: Armed Conflict

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the G-19 rebel group in Darfur. [129008]

Mr. McCartney: The Group of 19 (G-19) was a grouping of rebel commanders who broke away from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) following the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement in May 2006. The group has subsequently divided and in practice no longer exists. Many of its commanders have now re-aligned themselves as the SLM/Non-Signatory Front (NSF), while others remain closer to the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

Our ambassador in Khartoum and the UK permanent representative-designate to the United Nations in New York, John Sawers, met NSF and JEM representatives in El Fasher on 7 March. They pressed them on the need for a comprehensive ceasefire, to protect access for humanitarian workers and to be part of a renewed political process led by the African Union (AU) and UN.

The UK supports the efforts of the AU and UN special envoys for the peace process, Salim Ahmed Salim and Jan Eliasson, to re-start urgently political negotiations between the Government of Sudan and rebels on Darfur. We have also been supporting efforts
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by the SLM to organise a commanders’ conference in North Darfur, which aims at unifying the rebel movements with the aim of participating in new negotiations with a clearer voice.

Sudan: Human Rights

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will seek discussions with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference following its rejection of the recent UN report on the human rights situation in Darfur. [129006]

Mr. McCartney: The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Mission to Sudan issued a damning report on 12 March, confirming what we already knew about the grave human rights situation in Darfur. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and some Asian states, said that the council should not discuss the report on procedural grounds because the mission had not gone to Sudan.

I, and the UK permanent representative to the HRC, called on the council to take effective action on Darfur and not become mired in procedural debates. We do not accept that the mission report is not valid as the mission failed to go to Sudan. The Government of Sudan reneged on their commitment to co-operate with the mission and refused to grant visas to all members of the mission, so, rightly, none of the members went. The report is based on the assessments of UN humanitarian agencies, the African Union in Addis Ababa and UN High Commissioner for Refugees in eastern Chad. All of these organisations, which have large numbers of staff operating in Darfur and eastern Chad, continue to report an appalling human rights and humanitarian situation there. We will continue to press all members of the HRC, including those from the OIC, to take forward the recommendations in the report.

I also raised this with the Sudanese Justice Minister. I made clear that it was unacceptable that Sudan had not co-operated with the human rights mission to Sudan, which the council had authorised last December.

Sudan: War Crimes

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action she plans to take in response to Sudan’s announcement that it will not recognise the International Criminal Court indictment of individuals allegedly by responsible for the atrocities upon civilians in Darfur. [129283]

Mr. McCartney: The Government welcome the fact that the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s investigation has got to the point at which he is able to ask for the issuing of summonses against two individuals. It is now for the ICC judges to decide whether to approve this request.

The UK has made clear to the Government of Sudan that, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 1593, they must co-operate fully with the ICC in any action the Court decides to take. We are concerned by suggestions that the Government of Sudan will not co-operate and will be monitoring their actions extremely carefully. I raised the ICC investigation with Sudanese Justice Minister El-Mardi when we met in Geneva on 13 March.


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Taha Yassin Ramadan

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response she has made to the decision of the Iraqi Appeals Chamber hearing in the case of Taha Yassin Ramadan; what representations she has received, and from whom, on this case; and if she will make a statement. [129569]

Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary did not receive any direct representations in this case. The EU presidency, on behalf of all member states and the European Commission, reiterated its opposition to the death penalty to the Government of Iraq and requested that Taha Yassin Ramadan’s sentence be commuted. We repeated our concerns to the Government of Iraq on 19 March.

Tibet

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her policy is on (a) China’s and (b) the Dalai Lama’s proposals for the status of Tibet. [129574]

Mr. McCartney: We continue to urge the Chinese Government to engage with the representatives of the Dalai Lama, without preconditions, to find a legitimate, long-term solution which is acceptable to the Tibetans. Successive Governments have regarded Tibet as autonomous while recognising the special position of the Chinese authorities there. This continues to be the Government’s view.

USA: Foreign Companies

Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations her Department has made to the US Embassy on the proposed implementation of extra-territorial legislation in the territory of the UK by the Hilton Group and other US companies. [129503]

Mr. McCartney: I welcome the news in Hilton Hotel Group’s recent press release that it will not discriminate against customers and potential customers on the grounds of their nationality. The UK Government opposes all assertions of extraterritorial jurisdiction of other states on UK companies.

The European Commission has competence within the European Community for dealing with extraterritorial measures taken by third countries against EU member states. The Commission is considering how best to take these issues forward.

World Trade: USA

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Chairman of the EU Council of Ministers on progress towards a barrier-free transatlantic market. [129055]

Mr. Hoon: As I set out in my written answer to the hon. Member on 27 February 2007, Official Report, columns 1196-97W, the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) remains our top trade priority, but we welcome German proposals to tackle non-tariff barriers between the EU and US, which are not part of the DDA negotiations.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister attended the 8-9 March European Council in Brussels.
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Discussions covered a wide range of issues, including the EU-US relationship. Council Working Groups in Brussels have been discussing deepening EU-US Economic Co-operation and preparations for the EU-US summit more broadly.

We remain a strong supporter of promoting EU-US economic co-operation and integration in this sense and are keen to see further progress under the German presidency. Deepening economic co-operation between the EU and the US will not only bring the benefits of helping to remove remaining barriers to trade and investment but also serve as a positive step towards a more flexible and efficient global economy.

We will continue discussions with the Commission, our EU partners and the US in the run up to the EU-US summit on 30 April.

Trade and Industry

BAE Systems: Saudi Arabia

Roger Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2007, Official Report, column 1165W, on BAE Systems: Saudi Arabia, whether remuneration was paid other than fees or commissions. [128469]

Mr. McCartney: Remuneration, whether commission, fee or other, was not, to the knowledge of ECGD, paid to agents having any part in obtaining or negotiating the sale of Eurofighter aircraft to Saudi Arabia. ECGD was told by BAES in its application that there were no agents who played such a part. In that case no remuneration could be payable.

Roger Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2006, Official Report, column 1165W, on BAE Systems: Saudi Arabia, whether BAE Systems’ application for cover for the sale of Eurofighter aircraft for Saudi Arabia received by the Export Credits Guarantee Department on 28 June 2006 was made in accordance with the old anti-corruption procedures or those which came into effect on 1 July 2006; and which form the company completed. [128473]

Mr. McCartney: The application for cover was made prior to 1 July 2006 on the then-current proposal form. The Indemnity was issued after 1 July 2006 and contained the anti-bribery and corruption provisions which were introduced on 1 July 2006, with cross-references, where appropriate, to declarations in the application for cover.

Contracts

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what analysis he has undertaken of the potential impact of outsourcing of business functions abroad on (a) employment trends in the UK and (b) economic growth in the period to 2011; and if he will make a statement. [120868]

Mr. McCartney [holding answer 20 February 2007]: Current evidence suggests that while there has been
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some outsourcing of business functions abroad, this has had little significant impact on UK employment or growth. From 2001 to 2005 UK employment grew fastest in exactly the services, IT and call centres, that were regarded as most likely to be outsourced overseas, although a survey of the UK IT industry last year suggested there may be a small fall in its employment in the UK over the next few years. Therefore, while outsourcing of business functions abroad is generally expected to increase in the future, it is not clear that this will have a significant impact on UK employment or growth.

I do not propose to make any further statement.

Departments: Public Appointments

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the former hon. Members who left Parliament in 2005 who have since been appointed to public bodies by his Department, broken down by party; and who was responsible for making each appointment. [130141]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Information about the political activity of appointees is recorded and publicised in accordance with the independent Commissioner for Public Appointments' code of practice. This shows that no former hon. Members who left Parliament in 2005 have since been appointed to public bodies sponsored by the Department.

Departments: Trade Unions

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many meetings his Department's officials held with (a) business representatives, (b) trade union representatives and (c) consumer representatives in 2006. [128749]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department's officials held numerous meetings with business, trade union and consumer representatives in 2006 but the number is not held centrally and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

Domestic Accidents

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress his Department is making in reducing the number of serious accidents in the home. [125721]

Mr. McCartney: DTI is responsible for the safety of consumer products and we provide the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) with an annual grant of £166,050 to meet the costs of regional safety liaison officers whose role is to provide support—information, advice and training—towards improving the effectiveness of home safety practitioners in the voluntary sector and local government. The grant also helps fund the RoSPA press office, information service and website. DTI also gives RoSPA £60,725 per annum to provide the query service for the HASS/LASS (Home/Leisure Accident Surveillance System) database. DTI Ministers and officials meet RoSPA on a regular basis. DTI does not have a significant role in the prevention of accidents due to causes other than unsafe products.


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Drugs: Licensing

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what powers are available to trading standards officers to prevent the marketing to UK mainland consumers of unlicensed medicinal produced by companies based in the Channel Islands; what steps he plans to take to address this issue; and if he will make a statement. [122307]

Mr. McCartney: Medicines licensing is primarily the responsibility of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), a Department of Health Agency.

Export Credit Guarantees: Sakhalin Island

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the uncompleted British elements are of the Sakhalin II project which are still seeking support from the Export Credits Guarantee Department. [127993]

Mr. McCartney: The uncompleted elements include supply of goods and related services in relation to the following:

Hilton Group: Jurisdiction

Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what conclusions his Department has reached on its investigation into the proposed implementation of extra-territorial legislation in the territory of the UK by the Hilton Hotel Group and other US companies. [129505]

Mr. McCartney: I welcome the news in Hilton Hotel Group’s recent press release that it will not discriminate against customers and potential customers on the grounds of their nationality. The UK Government oppose all assertions of extraterritorial jurisdiction of other states on UK companies.

The European Commission has competence within the European Community for dealing with extraterritorial measures taken by third countries against EU member states. The Commission is considering how best to take these issues forward.

IT: Labour Market

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how average salaries for IT professionals in the UK have changed over the last five years; and how they are expected to change over the next 10 years. [129675]


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John Healey: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 25 March 2007:


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