HC Deb 09 June 2004 vol 422 cc411-2W
Richard Burden

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to help United Kingdom firms supply the Chinese market for renewable energy. [173456]

Mr. Timms

The Department of Trade and Industry maintains close contact with the Chinese authorities with regard to energy matters, and including renewable energy. This contact is managed day-to-day through the commercial sections of the British diplomatic posts in China, and export and trade promoters of UK Trade and Investment and of the DTI's New and Renewable Energy Programme.

We are currently working with the Chinese to assist with their design and drafting of regulations to increase their use of renewable energy over the coming years. In close co-operation with the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), we received a delegation of Chinese law makers in March, for a programme of meetings when they were able to discuss the issues involved with UK Government Departments and with UK industry. In May we sent a specialist who works with our Distributed Generation Working Group, and a Trade Promoter of the DTI's New and Renewable Energy Programme, to Beijing to join a working group developing the drafting of these regulations, which are expected to come into force next year.

We will continue to support this initiative, and also to promote contact between companies and industry bodies of our two countries. We have commissioned the development of a website designed specifically to make available information on renewable energy capabilities and opportunities in each country. This website is nearing completion, and can now be viewed on www.ukchinarenewables.co.uk. We understand that a UK specialist wind energy company is once again going to engage in training Chinese companies in the development of wind energy, in June; at least partially as a result of our trade promotional activities. And we are preparing to sponsor a presence by UK industry at a wind energy conference and exhibition in Beijing at the end of October.

We work with the services of UK Trade and Industry, which makes available to firms a range of market information and market research, and provides assistance with participation in trade missions, exhibitions, and conferences. In addition, we make focused market information available to UK firms that are active in the supply of goods and services for renewable energy, and we lead participation in some further trade events within China, brief a number of Chinese trade delegations visiting this country, and accompany some to meet and to visit UK companies. The website mentioned above is an example of making market information more readily available to UK companies. The last trade delegation that we led to China was to exhibit at an environmental exhibition in Beijing in December. That initiative was organised in conjunction also with a JEMU environmental trade mission to three provinces, and with the UK themed workshop "Think UK", arranged by the British embassy and UK industrial sponsors. Several UK renewable energy firms participated in that workshop, and achieved prominence at a senior level as a result. The next Renewable Energy trade mission that we are planning is the Wind Energy exhibition and conference in Beijing at the end of October. Meanwhile we continue to work with individual UK companies that are developing business opportunities.

I attended and spoke at the "China Day" event at the International Renewable Energy Conference in Bonn on 2 June at the invitation of Mr. Zhang Guo Bao, the Chinese Vice Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission.