Press Notice 52, Session 2006-07

Cross-departmental Working on Development and Trade

Trade is widely believed to be the best route out of poverty for developing countries.‚ The recent restructuring of the machinery of Government saw potentially important changes to the role of the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK Government's trade policy. Trade has become a joint responsibility of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR) and DFID, with a single minister shared by the two departments.

The International Development Committee will conduct a short inquiry into cross-departmental working on development and trade. This will assess DFID's place in the new Government structures and examine how trade policy will be managed across government in practice. It will also look at what the likely effect of the changes will be on the developing world and their potential impact on the key aspects of trade policy which affect developing countries, including corruption, international trade negotiations and conflict resources.‚ ‚ ‚

The Committee has previously looked at the UK's role within the EU in its WTO and Economic Partnership Agreements negotiations, and will assess how the machinery of government changes might influence the future direction of these negotiations.

The Committee will also use this short inquiry to follow-up issues raised in its 2006 Report on Conflict and Development: Peacebuilding and Post-Conflict Reconstruction. The Committee made specific recommendations about matters which were the responsibility of the former Department of Trade and Industry, in particular on the implementation of the OECD Guidelines on Multilateral Enterprises in relation to the regulation of the activities of companies operating in developing countries.

The Committee invites interested organisations and individuals to submit evidence on any of the following points:

Trade policy decision-making

â‚Division of responsibility between the Minister for Trade and the Minister for Trade Promotion and between the Secretaries of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and for International Development;

â‚Formal decision-making structures between the ministers and departments involved in trade policy.

Direction of trade policy

â‚How trade policy may evolve under the new arrangements and DFID's role in policy development;

â‚The impact of the new structure on international development;

â‚Likely effects on negotiations at the WTO and with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations which are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2007.

OECD and Corruption

â‚Progress on implementing the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and promotion of the risk awareness tool; role of the UK National Contact Point; and the OECD review of UK implementation of the anti-bribery convention;

â‚The role of‚ the â‚ËœMinisterial champion' on international corruption and the effectiveness of the UK Action Plan for Combating International Corruption.

Natural resources

â‚DFID's role in the promotion of improved economic and trade governance in resource-rich countries, such as through the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Development aspects of defence exports

â‚Impact of the changes in ministerial responsibilities on defence export licences and application of the â‚Ëœconsolidated criteria' on such exports, particularly criterion 8 on sustainable development.

Submission of written evidence

The Committee invites individuals and organisations with relevant expertise and experience to submit written evidence on any of these issues by 17 September 2007.

Evidence submitted should:

-if possible, be provided electronically in MS Word or Rich Text format, either by e-mail to or on a disk. If submitted by e-mail or e-mail attachment, a letter should also be sent validating the e-mail. The letterhead should contain your full postal address and contact details

-begin with a one-page summary if it is longer than six pages

-have numbered paragraphs

-avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material.

Submissions can also be sent by post to the International Development Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.‚ Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at:;

Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within written evidence, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet, by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. Please bear in mind that select committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Detailed enquiries to Matthew Hedges, 020 7219 0851 or

Further Information:

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), John Bercow MP (Con), Richard Burden MP (Lab), Mr Quentin Davies MP (Lab), James Duddridge MP (Con), Ann McKechin MP (Lab), Joan Ruddock MP (Lab), Mr Marsha Singh MP (Lab), Sir Robert Smith MP (Lib Dem).

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, 020 7219 1589, or