HC Deb 20 May 2004 vol 421 cc1116-7W
Angus Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment her Department has made of the number and types of UK companies(a) exporting goods to, (b) exporting services to and (c) investing capital in The Gambia since 1997; and if she will make a statement. [173441]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

The total number of UK companies exporting goods, services and investing capital in The Gambia since 1997 is difficult to determine because of the poor records held and maintained by the Gambian authorities, including the Registrar General of Companies, the Department for Trade, Customs and Excise and the Gambian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Nevertheless, from enquiries made by and records held at the British High Commission in Banjul, the number of known such companies is 29. However, UK companies are not required to notify the High Commission or UK Trade and Investment that they are doing business in or with The Gambia, and consequently the list cannot be considered to be exhaustive or complete. The majority on the list are small companies operating in the service industry but also include multinationals such as British American Tobacco and Shell. Furthermore, many UK individuals, as opposed to companies, have businesses in The Gambia such as bars and restaurants.

An indication of the volume of trade between the UK and The Gambia is shown in the following import/export statistics:

£ million
UK export UK import
1997 19.2 3.1
1998 14.4 2.9
1999 16.7 2.8
2000 14.4. 3.5
2001 18.5 7.7
2002 16.4 4.0
2003 18.96 2.77