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Ms Hewitt: My Department and the National Assembly for Wales work closely with the steel industry to provide support to improve the sector's competitiveness. The Welsh Assembly co-ordinates the All-Wales Steel Task Force with the aim of promoting the industry as well as dealing with the consequences of restructuring.
My Department has supported a number of industry-led initiatives which benefit companies in Wales and elsewhere in the UK. The Metals Industry Competitive Enterprise (MICE) aims to introduce lean manufacturing techniques throughout the sector. Welsh companies are among those who have already taken advantage of this important initiative. In February I announced funding for the new National Metals Technology Centre (NAMTEC) which I hope will play an important role in ensuring the UK metals industry as a whole remains a world leader in innovation.
Ms Hewitt: The UK steel industry has experienced difficult trading conditions in recent years and many jobs have been lost through restructuring and cost cutting. However, the industry has an excellent productivity record, produces a wide range of high quality products and has a well trained work force helping it compete against international competition at home and overseas. We are determined to stand by the industry in combating the recent unjustified US action to impose prohibitive import tariffs.
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(1) Number employed at end of year on European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) iron and steel activities.
The Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau.
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Mr. Alexander: Oftel's broadband brief published in February 2002 reported that there were over 146,000 ADSL end-users and 196,000 cable modem end-users. Take-up is growing rapidly, with a growth of over 500 per cent. over the last year.
20. Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to raise with the WTO the tariff on exports of menswear from the United Kingdom to the United States; and if she will make a statement. 
21. Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received following the publication of the energy report by the performance and innovation unit on clean coal technology; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Hewitt: The Government fully support the European Commission's request for consultations with the US, including seeking compensation for the damage to EU trade by the US measures. We will await the outcome of these consultations before reaching any final view on other responses to the US measures.
25. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her statement of 15 November 2001, Official Report, column 1000, on the WTO, what progress has been made in consultations with the Philippines on trade issues in relation to Mindanao. 
Ms Hewitt: Although the Government do not have a bilateral aid programme with the Philippines, the Philippines does receive considerable support from other donors and from multilateral organisations, including the World bank and the Asian Development bank, both of which receive funds from the Government. These multilateral resources should enable the Government of
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the Philippines to tackle poverty and achieve faster growth, provided that a sound policy environment can be maintained.
26. John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the decision to set a deadline on new claims to the compensation scheme for current and ex-miners suffering from vibration white finger. 
Ms Hewitt: The number of new claims registered under the scheme is declining and this has led to reduced opening times for many testing centres. The Department is keen to ensure that existing claims are assessed and settled as soon as possible. In consultation with the Claimants' Solicitors Group the Department has agreed a cut-off date of 31 October 2002. This has been advertised in local and national press.
27. Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations she has received about the cost impact of the climate change levy on the competitive position of manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom. 
The Government are keeping in touch with business on the levy to monitor initial experience with its operation. Primary responsibility for the levy lies with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Ms Hewitt: DTI's aim is to ensure that environmental concerns are brought into the mainstream of the Department's policy-making and operational management, within the wider context of promoting sustainable development.
The effectiveness of DTI's procedures for environmental screening and appraisal of policies were reviewed last year by a member of the Foresight Environmental Appraisal Task Force and the Department's internal audit. New guidelines are being finalised which will be published on DTI's website.
DTI's Estates and Facilities Management Directorate run an environmental managements system accredited to ISO 14001 covering DTI's HQ Buildings. It incorporates monitoring, control and regular audits to ensure the continued effectiveness of the system and to track progress towards targets.
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