HC Deb 24 January 2000 vol 343 cc39-40W
Ms Drown

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to co-ordinate different Government department's policies towards the World Trade Organisation. [104503]

Mr. Caborn

We use informal and formal networks into which we put a lot of effort. Informally, DTI officials have almost daily contact with colleagues in other Government Departments, including in particular FCO, HMT, DfID, MAFF and DETR. More formally, we have regular cross-Whitehall meetings of officials in a Trade Policy Group. There is also correspondence at ministerial level and discussions in Cabinet Committee. Reflecting this close co-ordination we had a team of officials including other Government Departments in Seattle and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State was accompanied by my right hon. Friend the Secretary for State for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and myself.

Dr. Palmer

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will initiate a consultation process concerning the outcome of the World Trade Organisation talks in Seattle and future policy in relation to such talks. [105061]

Mr. Caborn

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State stated the Government's position following the Seattle Conference in the debate in the House on 9 December 1999,Official Report, columns 1022–94. As the Government remain committed to the launch of a new comprehensive Round of trade negotiations, the existing consultation processes which they have in place remain valid. This includes consultation with Parliament, to which the Government attach particular importance. The Government launched a wider consultation exercise last year, including a new website which we will be expanding in the coming months to provide more information and features, and to which we have had a good response. We will also continue to hold meetings with a range of people including business, NGOs and trades unions at both official and ministerial level.

Mr. Chaytor

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance he is intending to provide to developing countries without a permanent representative to the World Trade Organisation Secretariat in Geneva in order to assist them to be more fully involved in the Millennium Round of trade negotiations. [105579]

Mr. Caborn

[holding answer 20 January 2000]: While the Government regret that a new Round was not launched at the Seattle Conference at the end of last year, we remain committed to launching a comprehensive Round at the earliest opportunity. The Government have committed themselves to increasing the WTO's regular budget for technical assistance. In addition, the Government have funded a number of other programmes for countries without a mission in Geneva including: a week-long series of briefings, seminars and policy debates in Geneva to help these countries prepare for the Seattle meeting; support for CARICOM countries most of whom do not have a representative in Geneva to participate in WTO negotiations; their contribution to the Commonwealth's Trade and Investment Access Facility through which they are funding inter alia a Geneva-based trade policy expert to advise their trade Ministries. In addition, the Government are working with a wide range of organisations including UNCTAD, the World Bank and Commonwealth Secretariat to help build the trade capacity of developing and least developed countries so that they can participate more effectively in the world trading system.

Mr. Mackinlay

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reason Croatia's application for membership of the World Trade Organisation was not accepted; and if he will make a statement. [104758]

Mr. Caborn

Croatia's market access offer in services which forms part of her World Trade Organisation (WTO) accession negotiations has not been accepted by all WTO members. This currently prevents her becoming a member of the WTO. The United Kingdom continues to fully support Croatian WTO accession, and looks forward to welcoming her as a WTO member in the near future.