HC Deb 11 July 2002 vol 388 cc1030-1
8. Helen Jackson (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

What action she is taking to promote (a) free and (b) fair trade. [66374]

The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Ms Patricia Hewitt)

We played a very important role in securing agreement last November on the Doha development round. It is through the World Trade Organisation that we can create a framework of rules for free and fair world trade. We are working closely in the European Union and with other Governments across the world to ensure that we deliver on those Doha commitments.

Helen Jackson

I thank my right hon. Friend. She will be aware that the campaign for fair and free trade attracts people across social classes and ages, and gives the lie to the belief that there is political apathy in this country. I am now in contact with more than 150 constituents, more than 20 of whom took the time and trouble to travel down from Sheffield to attend the lobby on free and fair trade a couple of weeks ago. In that context, will she ensure that, in her discussions with her EU counterparts as part of the CAP mid-term review, she helps to establish a firm timetable for the elimination of export subsidies, to which the EU will make every effort to stick?

Ms Hewitt

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend and, of course, we will continue to press for a firm timetable for reducing agricultural subsidies and then for eliminating them. I also agree strongly with the points that she made about the Trade Justice Movement, and I very much hope that the faith groups and other voluntary organisations involved in that movement will now spread their wings and make connections in other European countries and, perhaps most importantly, in the United States of America, so that we can spread throughout the rich countries of the world the understanding that we need free and fair trade, in the interests, above all, of the developing countries.