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General Agreement On Trade In Services

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 5 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the latest (a) discussions held and (b) agreements reached concerning the General Agreement on Trade in Services. [115538]

The current negotiations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services—part of the World Trade Organisation's Doha Development Agenda of multilateral trade negotiations—are due to be concluded by 1 January 2005. Negotiations have recently begun to focus on requests and offers. Around 25 offers have so far been tabled by WTO Members. The offer by the European Community and Member States was tabled on 29 April.

:To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her policy is on the import of products that would be illegal if they had been produced in the United Kingdom; what records are kept of such products; and what assessment she has made of the risk to consumers from such products. [116714]

Consumer protection legislation, which is enforced by local authority trading standards officers, makes it an offence to supply unsafe consumer products to the UK market. The legislation applies equally to products manufactured in the UK and imported products. Enforcement statistics do not distinguish action taken against imported products. Under European Council Regulation 339/93—relating to goods imported from non-Community countries—customs officers have powers to detain goods for up to three working days to permit checks by trading standards officers when there is reason to believe that goods may be unsafe. More generally in formulating policy towards imports of goods the United Kingdom must have due regard to its European Community and international trade obligations.