EU Internal Trade

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the primary (a) imported and (b) exported goods and services are between the UK and Europe. [119864]

Michael Fallon: The primary goods imported and exported are shown in the following tables.

 Top 10 goods imports to UK from EU by commodity (SITC)2011 (£ billion)Percentage of total

781

Motor cars and other m/vehicles principally designed for transport of persons (o/t public-transport vehicles)

19

9

334

Oils obtained from petroleum or bituminous minerals

9

4

784

Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of group 722, 781, 782 and 783

8

4

542

Medicaments (including veterinary medicaments)

8

4

764

Telecommunications equipment

6

3

752

Computers

4

2

641

Paper and paperboard

4

2

713

Internal combustion piston engines, and parts thereof, nes

3

1

112

Alcoholic beverages

3

1

782

Motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purposes motor vehicles

3

1

 

Top 10

66

32

 

Other

138

68

 Top 10 goods exports from UK to EU by commodity (SITC)2011 (£ billion)Percentage of total

333

Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude

14

9

334

Oils obtained from petroleum or bituminous minerals

12

7

781

Motor cars and other m/vehicles principally designed for transport of persons

9

6

542

Medicaments (including veterinary medicaments)

8

5

792

Aircraft and associated equipment; spacecraft (including satellites) and spacecraft launch vehicles; parts thereof

4

3

541

Medicinal and pharmaceutical products, other than medicaments of group 542

4

3

713

Internal combustion piston engines, and parts thereof, nes

3

2

764

Telecommunications equipment, nes

3

2

343

Natural gas, whether or not liquified

3

2

784

Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of group 722, 781, 782 and 783

3

2

 

Top 10

63

40

 

Other

95

60

Source: HMRC

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The UK imported over £200 billion of goods from the EU in 2011. £19 billion of imports were motor cars (9% of total imports by value from the EU).

The UK exported over £150 billion of goods to the EU. Petroleum oils (SITC 333 and 334) together accounted for 16% of these exports by value. Other primary goods exports included motor cars, aircraft, and pharmaceuticals, as shown in the table.

In 2011, the UK imported £59 billion of services from the EU, of which £18 billion was travel services, £14 billion was “other business services”, and £11 billion was transportation services.

In 2011, the UK exported £75 billion of services to the EU, of which £21 billion was financial services, £20 billion was “other business services”, £10 billion was travel services, and £9 billion was transportation services.

Goods data are from HM Revenue and Customs and published on their website:

www.uktradeinfo.com

Goods are allocated a commodity code based on the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC). Services data are collated from various statistical surveys, and published by the Office for National Statistics in the UK Balance of Payments (Pink Book) also available online.

India

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions he has had with the Government of India on allowing multi-brand retailers access to markets in India. [118899]

Michael Fallon: The Government want to see liberalisation in India across a range of economic sectors, including multi-brand retail. We are continuing to press the EU and the Government of India to deliver on this. The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), has raised this with his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma on several occasions. The British high commissioner to India and his officials also regularly discuss these issues with Government of India counterparts.

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he expects the EU and India to sign a free trade agreement. [118900]

Michael Fallon: The most recent statement issued by Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on 26 June 2012 was optimistic about progress towards conclusion of negotiations this year. The Government are keen to see an agreement concluded as soon as possible, but there are still a number of issues to be resolved on the liberalisation of both goods and services.

Intern Aware

Hazel Blears: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many times (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have met Intern Aware in the last 12 months. [119966]

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Jo Swinson: No BIS Minister has met Intern Aware in the last 12 months.

Overseas Trade

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what assessment his Department has made of the implementation of its February 2011 White Paper on Trade and Investment for Growth; [119641]

(2) what progress his Department has made in working with domestic Departments to promote the British economy overseas. [119679]

Michael Fallon: The actions called for in the “Trade and Investment for Growth” White Paper cut across Government Departments and are being implemented under the oversight of the Economic Affairs cabinet sub-committee on Trade and Investment—the EA(TI)—which is chaired by the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, my noble Friend, Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint. We have laid much of the necessary groundwork and made some real progress. The majority of White Paper commitments are on track to deliver against the agreed timeframes and milestones. However, we are taking a long-term approach and our strategy cannot be secured in 18 months. A report detailing progress and achievements in the first year following the launch of the White Paper can be downloaded from the BIS website at:

www.bis.gov.uk/policies/trade-policy-unit/trade-white-paper/white-paper-one-year-on

The EA(TI) was created by the Prime Minister to co-ordinate the implementation of the policies set out in the White Paper. With wide membership at Minister of State level, and covering all Departments with a key interest in trade and investment, the Committee considers the significant issues affecting the promotion of trade and investment with the UK and co-ordinates action across Whitehall.

Overseas Trade: BRIC Countries

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate his Department has made of the level of growth in UK exports to (a) Russia and (b) Brazil in 2012. [118891]

Michael Fallon: In Q1 2012, UK exports of goods and services totalled £2,149 million to Russia and £1,034 million to Brazil. There was an increase of £396 million (23%) to Russia and £119 million (13%) to Brazil compared with Q1 2011. Estimates for Q2 2012 will be released by the Office for National Statistics in late September 2012.

Data for trade in goods only, collected by HM Revenue and Customs, show total goods exports of £2,877 million to Russia and £1,259 million to Brazil, up £753 million (35%) and £240 million (24%) respectively on the first half of 2011. Each month saw growth in goods exports by value (compared with the same month in 2011).

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Pharmacy: Opening Hours

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what his policy is on allowing supermarket pharmacies to extend their opening hours; [120270]

(2) whether his Department has commissioned research into the potential effect on local pharmacies of allowing supermarket pharmacies to increase their opening hours. [120271]

Michael Fallon: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has commissioned no such research. General pharmacy regulation is a matter for the Department of Health.

Post Offices: Closures

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the potential number of post office closures that will occur as a consequence of the abolition of core tier fixed payments to post offices. [119162]

Jo Swinson [holding answer 5 September 2012]: The Government have made a clear commitment that there will be no programme of post office closures. This is supported by £1.34 billion funding to maintain a network of at least 11,500 branches, and also to modernise around 6,000 post offices by 2015 in a process known as Network Transformation. This is a completely voluntary process; no sub-postmaster is being forced to change their contract and for those who do not opt to change, we are not abolishing the core tier payment. It should be noted that Post Office Ltd has reported an encouraging level of interest in converting to the new operating models under Network Transformation from existing sub-postmasters.

Post Offices: Credit Cards

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills for what reasons post offices are not able to accept credit card payment for car tax renewals. [119215]

Jo Swinson [holding answer 5 September 2012]: Post Office Ltd is responsible for operational matters pertaining to the post office network, which includes the information requested. I have therefore asked Paula Vennells, the chief executive of Post Office Ltd, to respond directly to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Postal Services: Crimes of Violence

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will estimate the number of (a) Post Office and (b) Royal Mail staff that were assaulted in (i) 2010 and (11) 2011. [118918]

Jo Swinson: Post Office Ltd and Royal Mail management are responsible for the day-to-day running of their respective companies, which includes the information requested. I have therefore asked both Paula Vennells, chief executive of Post Office Ltd, and Moya Greene, chief executive of Royal Mail, to respond directly to the

12 Sep 2012 : Column 288W

hon. Member with regard to their respective companies; copies of their replies will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Regulation

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department has made an estimate of the (a) cost and (b) time required for a business to comply with each piece of regulation for which it is responsible. [118681]

Michael Fallon: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills follows the one-in, one-out methodology in order to calculate the cost and time required for a business to comply with new domestic regulation. The Government publish the Statement of New Regulation twice a year which gives an overview of the net cost to business from new domestic regulation. Individual impact assessments are also published on the Impact Assessment Library and can be accessed via the website.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Burma

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has raised the situation of the Rohingya people in Burma with his European counterparts; and when he next plans to do so. [120314]

Mr Swire: Burma is due to be discussed by EU Foreign Ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council in October and the situation in Rakhine state is likely to feature prominently in these discussions.

The situation in Rakhine state was also discussed by senior EU member state officials in Brussels in July at the UK's initiative. They will do so again in September. Our embassy in Rangoon is in close touch with all EU missions and as local EU presidency, is leading the EU response.

We will continue to work urgently with our international partners, and through the UN and EU, to highlight the plight of the Rohingya.

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has discussed the situation of the Rohingya people in Burma with his counterpart in the Government of Burma. [120315]

Mr Swire: During his visit to Burma from 5-6 January this year, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), raised with the Foreign Minister the discrimination suffered by the Rohingya community, who have been denied citizenship and access to basic services and rights.

The Secretary of State also met a range of representatives from ethnic communities, including the Kachin, Rohingya, Shan, Rakhine, Chin, Mon, Karen and Karenni to hear more about their concerns and aspirations.

As I set out in the Westminster Hall debate of 11 September 2012, Official Report, columns 20-24WH, on the treatment of Rohingya, Ministers continue to

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raise their concerns about the lack of respect for human rights with the Burmese Government at every opportunity. During his visit to Burma in April, the Prime Minister welcomed the changes already introduced while highlighting the areas where further progress was needed including political prisoners and ethnic reconciliation. The Prime Minister also met with representatives from the Rohingya community during this visit.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials in Rangoon and in London continue to raise our concerns with senior members and representatives of the Burmese Government and with our international partners.

India

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government will offer support or expertise to the Indian Government to adopt an anti-trafficking law in respect of the treatment of Dalits in that country. [120216]

Mr Swire: Human trafficking is prohibited under article 23 of the constitution of India. We support co-operation between UK and Indian enforcement agencies in a range of areas and will continue to engage the Indian authorities on measures to combat human trafficking and illegal immigration, including offering UK experience and expertise where appropriate.

Our high commission in New Delhi is involved in a pilot project to improve the exchange of information between agencies dealing with the prevention of trafficking and the rehabilitation of victims of commercial sexual exploitation in India. Our analysis is that trafficking is a particular risk for India's poorest and socially excluded groups, including Dalits. The UK Government ensure that all British development programmes are designed to benefit particularly the poorest and most excluded. These programmes help to address some of the “push factors” for trafficking such as poverty, lack of opportunity and illiteracy, and are also a means of raising awareness of the threat of trafficking in rural districts. Examples include the Indian Government's “Education for All” scheme, which has helped bring the proportion of Dalit children in school into line with their proportion in the general population; and our civil society programmes, which support excluded groups in India's 90 poorest districts to understand their rights and access government services.

Libya

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on where the case of Abdullah al-Senussi will be heard. [120377]

Alistair Burt: The question of where the case of Abdullah al-Senussi will be heard is a matter of continued discussion between the Libyan authorities and the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Libyan Prime Minister has stated publicly that al-Senussi will receive:

“a fair trial during which the international standards of dignity will be respected.”

The British Government will continue to encourage co-operation between the ICC and the Libyan authorities and to ensure that any future legal process is conducted according to international standards.

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Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the written ministerial statement of 19 May 2011, Official Report, column 27WS, on pre-Foreign Affairs Council and General Affairs Council (23 to 24 May 2011), if he will make representations to Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo that Abdullah al-Senussi should face a transparent trial at the International Criminal Court. [120443]

Alistair Burt: On 5 September, Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi was extradited to Libya by the Mauritanian authorities. We understand that al-Senussi is formally in the custody of the Libyan authorities. The Libyan Prime Minister has stated publicly that al-Senussi will receive:

“a fair trial during which the international standards of dignity will be respected”.

In light of the International Criminal Court's (ICC) outstanding arrest warrant for al-Senussi the Libyan authorities and the ICC will need to engage on the matter of where al-Senussi should be tried. The ICC is an independent judicial institution and it would be inappropriate to seek to make representations to the new Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. The British Government will continue to encourage co-operation between the ICC and the Libyan authorities and to ensure that any future legal process is conducted according to international standards.

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the written ministerial statement of 19 May 2011, Official Report, column 27WS, on pre-Foreign Affairs Council and General Affairs Council (23 to 24 May 2011), if he will make representations to the Libyan Foreign Ministry that Abdullah al-Senussi should face a transparent trial at the International Criminal Court. [120444]

Alistair Burt: On 5 September, Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi was extradited to Libya by the Mauritanian authorities. We understand that al-Senussi is formally in the custody of the Libyan authorities. The Libyan Prime Minister has stated publicly that al-Senussi will receive:

“a fair trial during which the international standards of dignity will be respected”.

In light of the International Criminal Court's (ICC) outstanding arrest warrant for al-Senussi, the Libyan authorities and the ICC will need to engage on the matter of where al-Senussi should be tried. The British Government will continue to encourage co-operation between the ICC and the Libyan authorities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and to ensure that any future legal process is conducted according to international standards.

Middle East

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to support and enhance religious freedom in the middle east. [120455]

Alistair Burt: We deplore all discrimination against religious minorities and constraints on their freedom to practise their faiths.

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We regularly stress to the Governments of countries undergoing political transitions that respect for human rights and dignity are universal rights which must underline all political systems, without exception, benefiting all. In Egypt, we are following closely President Mursi's actions to fulfil the commitment he made in his presidential acceptance speech to respect human rights and tackle discrimination, including against minorities. In Syria, we continue to urge opposition groups to work together to build a shared future which has at its heart an inclusive and representative political system adhering to international human rights standards and guaranteeing minority rights.

We do not limit our response to words. In Iraq we have funded a grassroots religious reconciliation initiative involving a series of meetings to encourage dialogue between local religious leaders from across the sectarian divides. In Egypt, we have been supportive of inter-faith dialogue and initiatives such as Beit El-Eila. We also use our close relationship with Al-Azhar University to promote intra-faith dialogue.

We are confident that more open and inclusive societies are the surest route to stability and security, including for minorities. The UK is supporting this process through our Arab Partnership, by promoting the strengthening of institutions crucial for more open and accountable societies, including the judiciary, a free press and a vibrant civil society.

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the report, “Children in Military Custody”, what recent progress the Government have made in persuading the Government of Israel to adopt the recommendations of the report, on breaches of the UN Convention on the Rights of the

12 Sep 2012 : Column 292W

Child and Fourth Geneva Convention by that country in relation to Palestinian children under Israeli military law. [120507]

Alistair Burt: The British ambassador to Israel has discussed the report's findings with the Israeli Attorney-General and Deputy Attorney-General and with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We will continue dialogue with the Israeli authorities on this issue.

We are also in contact with the report's authors about other possible follow-up to the report.

UKTI and Scottish Development International

Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department has paid to (a) UK Trade & Investment and (b) Scottish Development International in each of the last five years. [120553]

Mr Lidington: UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is a joint non-ministerial Government Department of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The FCO's funding of UKTI is published annually in UKTI's annual report and accounts, memorandum notes, statement of comprehensive net expenditure, available at:

http://www.ukti.gov.uk/uktihome/aboutukti/ourperformance/officialreports/departmentalreportresourceaccounts.html

The most recent accounts were laid before the House on 28 June 2012 [HC47].

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not pay any money directly to Scottish Development International. The organisation's funding is provided via the UK Government's annual block grant to the Scottish Government.