HC Deb 26 November 1999 vol 339 c229W
Mr. Wigley

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what initiatives he proposes to take at the World Trade Organisation Conference at Seattle to ensure that WTO policies have specific objectives which include(a) the reduction of Third World poverty, (b) ensuring equitable market access for the products of Third World countries on the basis of a level playing field and (c) helping consumers to distinguish between products on ethical, environmental and health grounds. [99422]

Mr. Byers

[holding answer 23 November 1999]: At Seattle, I will be vigorously supporting EU efforts aimed at ensuring that a new comprehensive round of negotiations has a clear development agenda meeting the needs and priorities of developing countries and which maximises the WTO's contribution to the eradication of poverty. On market access in respect of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), I shall be arguing strongly that other industrialised countries should join the EU in undertaking to provide duty-free access for essentially all LDC exports no later than the end of the round. I fully support the development of labelling schemes which enable consumers to make choices consistent with the pursuit of sustainable development. The EU will be pressing for clarification of the relationship between WTO rules and eco-labelling schemes to be included in the round.