HC Deb 10 May 2004 vol 421 cc83-4W
Sir Archy Kirkwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what further steps she proposes to promote international trade with developing countries; [169371]

(2) what trade proposals she has to enable countries in Africa to increase levels of trade with the UK. [1693721]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

The best opportunity for promoting trade with developing countries is a successful and ambitious result from the Doha Development Agenda in the World Trade Organisation. We are working closely with the European Commission, other member states and other governments to secure this. While the Doha Round remains our top priority, we are also working with the Commission on the revision of the EU's Generalised System of Preferences, which offers preferential access for developing countries to the now even larger European market, and totally tariff and quota free access for the Least Developed Countries, many of which are in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, negotiations for Economic Partnership Agreements with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are under way.

The forthcoming Trade and Investment White Paper will consider, among other issues, the trade framework between the EU and developing countries. The UK is also supporting capacity building in developing countries in trade policy and negotiations to the tune of £165 million over three years, by supporting organisations such as the Centre for WTO Law and the South Centre. We hope that the Commission for Africa, announced by the Prime Minister on 26 February, will consider what more can be done to help specifically African countries reap the benefits of increased world trade.