HC Deb 04 November 1999 vol 337 cc285-6W
Mr. Worthington

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what specific progress he is making in linking his Department's work with the objective of the Department for International Development for relieving world poverty. [96663]

Mr. Caborn

My Department works closely with the Department for International Development, for example through an Interdepartmental Group on Trade and Development which co-ordinates our efforts to ensure that developing countries benefit more fully from the world trade system. Together, the two Departments have worked successfully to establish an EU approach to a comprehensive new round of negotiations in the WTO which reflects this concern—including a call for duty-free access for essentially all products from the least developed countries by the end of the round.

In July, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced the review of ECGD's Mission and Status, which will take account of the relationship of ECGD's activities with the Government's wider objectives. In this context, I particularly want the review to look at what more ECGD could do to help the Government to achieve their wider sustainable development objectives, as the UK continues to play a leading role in assisting the poorest developing countries to emerge from the debt and poverty burdens and return to the international trading community.