HC Deb 17 July 1991 vol 195 c178W
Mr. Gould

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action he has taken since September 1990 to ensure that international trade agreements involving the United Kingdom have had respect for the international environment.

Mr. Lilley

The European Community has signed no new multilateral trade agreements since September 1990. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is playing a leading role in an important and developing international debate about the relationship of environmental questions to the rules of international trade.

Since September 1990 the Government have participated in a study on trade and environment issues in the OECD—this led to endorsement by the OECD ministerial council in June of a programme of further work, in which we are participating, and which may lead to guidelines on ways to protect the environment while preserving the open multilateral trading system; begun planning a consultancy study which will look urgently at the trade effects of measures which may be taken to control the emission of greenhouse gases; participated with our European partners in the GATT Uruguay round negotiations on agriculture which are addressing the need for assistance for environmental and conservation purposes—agreement in GATT on investment and intellectual property would also assist the technology flows needed to deal with environmental problems; participated fully in a GATT working party on the export of domestically prohibited goods, including those banned on environmental grounds; supported re-establishment of a GATT working party on the environment.