Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Committee

TRADE MINISTERS TO APPEAR TOGETHER BEFORE MPs

FOR THE FIRST TIME

Lord Jones of Birmingham and Mr Gareth Thomas MP to give evidence on 8 January

Under the June 2007 machinery of government changes which saw the creation of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), the role of the Minister for Trade and Investment was divided between two ministers working in three departments:

• a Minister for Trade Promotion and Investment (joint BERR/FCO), Lord Jones of Birmingham; and

• a Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs (in BERR, joint with Department for International Development as the Minister for Trade and Development), Gareth Thomas MP.

There is now a single Trade Policy Unit containing BERR and DFID officials, and a Cabinet sub Committee on trade issues, chaired by the Secretary of State for International Development, to co-ordinate policy.

The Government’s trade ministers will give evidence to the Business and Enterprise Committee together for the first time since this reorganisation.  The hearing will be in two parts covering two separate inquiries:

Date/Time: Tuesday 8 January at 3.30pm

Witnesses: Lord Jones of Birmingham, Minister for Trade and Investment, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform; and

Mr Gareth Thomas MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Trade & Consumer Affairs, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform.

Inquiries: Recent developments in trade: covering the machinery of government changes, the World Trade Organisation and progress in the Doha Round, and the EU’s trade strategy;

(at approx 4.30pm)  Trade and Investment Opportunities with India: following up on developments since the June 2006 Trade and Industry Committee report, including the proposed EU-India free trade agreement.

Location : to be confirmed

The Committee invites brief written submissions on recent developments in trade to enable it to focus its questioning on the key issues.

These should be sent, as an MS Word document, by e-mail to [email protected] with a single hard copy sent to the Clerk of the Committee at the address above by 5.00pm on 17 December.

The session will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis.  There is no system for the prior reservation of seats in Committee Rooms.  It is advisable to allow about 20 minutes to pass through security checks.  Committee rooms and the timing of meetings are subject to change. Those interested in attending the session should check the venue by contacting the House of Commons Public Information Office on 020 7219 4272 on the day before the hearing.

Further Information:

As a consequence of machinery of government changes announced in June 2007, the Department for Trade and Industry ceased to exist and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform was created. Following this decision, the Trade and Industry Committee was dissolved and a successor committee has been created, with the following membership:

Chairman: Peter Luff MP (Con) (Mid Worcestershire)
Mr Adrian Bailey (Lab) (West Bromwich West)
Roger Berry (Lab) (Kingswood)
Mr Brian Binley (Con) (Northampton South)
Mr Michael Clapham (Lab) (Barnsley West and Pen.)
Mr Lindsay Hoyle (Lab) (Chorley)
Mark Hunter (Lib Dem) (Cheadle)
Miss Julie Kirkbride (Con) (Bromsgrove)
Anne Moffat (Lab) (East Lothian)
Mr Mike Weir (SNP) (Angus)
Mr Anthony Wright (Lab) (Great Yarmouth)

Links to India report & Government response:

Trade and Industry Committee, Third Report of Session 2005-06, Trade and Investment Opportunities with India (HC 881-I); http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmtrdind/881/881i.pdf

Trade and Industry Committee, Fifteenth Special Report of Session 2005-06, Trade and Investment Opportunities with India: Government Response to the Committee's Third Report of Session 2005-06 (HC 1671); http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmtrdind/1671/1671.pdf

Media Enquiries: Laura Humble, Tel 0207 219 2003/ 07917 488 489, email: [email protected]

Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 5777, email: [email protected]