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Ms Hewitt: ENVISAT, Europe's latest Earth Observation satellite, was successfully launched on 1 March. The £1.4 billion satellite will provide vital information about global warming, climate change and the depletion of the ozone layer. ENVISAT is the most complex Earth Observation satellite ever built, carrying 10 instruments which are able to detect environmental change to an unprecedented accuracy.
The UK Government has invested £300 million in the project, which has been steered by the British National Space Centre (BNSC) in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and UK industry. 12 UK firms have played a vital part in the development and construction of ENVISAT, with many more standing to benefit from exploitation of ENVISAT's data in downstream sectors.
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ENVISAT has reached its correct orbit and is delivering valuable data back to Earth for use by environmental researchers. Such data will provide a health check of our planet. It will monitor changes in the oceans, ice caps, vegetation and our atmosphere and its findings will underpin the future development of environmental policy.
Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the spacecraft which the UK is (a) operating and (b) funding; who owns the spacecraft; and what the purpose of each mission is. 
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to review the competition implications of the arrangement between Deloitte & Touche and Andersens UK in the accounting industry; if she intends to make a reference to the competition authorities; and if she will make a statement. 
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 17 April 2002]: Any proposed merger which meets the qualifying threshold would be considered by the European Commission under the European Community Merger Regulation. The parties concerned have not yet made a formal notification to the Commission.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what services the UK Government (a) unilaterally and (b) as part of the European Union will be requesting be liberalised under World Trade Organisation's general agreement on trade in services to be specified by 30 June. 
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will make a statement on how the liberalisation of social services under the World Trade Organisation's general agreement on trade in services will affect women as (a) citizens and (b) workers; 
Ms Hewitt: No country has so far tabled a negotiating proposal or request calling for liberalisation of social services in the current World Trade Organisation negotiations on trade in services. Unless any do so, the impact will be nil.
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Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what commitments the Government have made under the World Trade Organisation's general agreement on trade in services regarding the liberalisation of public services. 
Ms Hewitt: Public servicesie services supplied in the exercise of governmental authorityare in principle excluded from the scope of the GATS. The Government have therefore made no commitments under the GATS under which public services would be liberalised, and has said previously that it will make no commitments in the current World Trade Organisation negotiations that could call into question the supply of public services through for example the NHS or state educations system.
For the sake of clarity, the United Kingdom already allows the establishment of private educational establishments, hospital services and convalescent, rest and old people's homes, for example, and made commitments during the Uruguay Round confirming this market access.
Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to her answer of 18 March 2002, Official Report, column 86W, on the Research Council, what the Government's policy was on the Commission's proposal to amend the negotiating mandate on the legal aspects of a possible International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, in order to include possible site offers for ITER in Europe and cost sharing provisions. 
Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to her answer of 18 March 2002, Official Report, column 86W, on the Research Council, what the Government's policy was on the Commission's proposal for a negotiating mandate to discuss a framework agreement with the European Space Agency. 
Ms Hewitt: The UK has championed the development of closer relations between the European Community and the European Space Agency. The Government encourage the development of a framework agreement which would ensure increasing complementarity between the policies and activities of these two bodies, which have a substantial overlap in their membership.
Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to her answer of 18 March 2002, Official Report, column 86W, on the Research Council, what the Government's policy was on the rules of participation and the specific programmes for the Sixth EU Research Framework Programme 200206 and Sixth EURATOM Framework Programme 200206. 
Ms Hewitt: The Government broadly supported the proposal for the EC 200206 Rules of Participation and Dissemination (COM (2001) 822 final) but wanted to see a number of amendments to underpin the principles of scientific excellence, independent peer review and transparency as well as public accountability and simplification of administrative procedures. The Government also wanted to ensure that the rules would
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encourage diverse participation, including by small and medium-sized enterprises and the candidate countries and enable member states to have access to policy related research results. In relation to the Euratom Programme rules (COM (2001) 0725 final), debate at Council focused on the Community financial contribution to projects where the UK supported the Commission's proposal for 17.5 per cent. basic support to national programmes.
In relation to the Specific Programmes for the Sixth EU Research Framework Programme (COM 2002 (43) final), discussion centred on comitology. The Government's policy was to argue for a wider remit for the programme committees than that envisaged in the proposals, in order to ensure that member states continue to play an appropriate role in programme management.
Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received about the impact of the Export Credit Bill on academic and scientific research; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Hewitt: The Government have consulted extensively, including with the academic community, throughout the development of the Export Control Bill, to which it is assumed this question is intended to refer. In the course of these consultations we received a number of representations about the potential impact of proposal on academic and scientific research. More recently the Government have received a number of further representations from parliamentarians, interested individuals and representative organisations on this issue. In response to concerns raised, the Government have tabled an amendment to the Export Control Bill to be moved at Report in another place. The amendment provides on the face of the Bill for protection of the principle of freedom to publish and to communicate information that has already been published.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which areas qualified for consideration for the assisted areas map by virtue of being (a) substantially below the national average for employment and (b) substantially above the national average for (i) residence-based unemployment, (ii) work force-based unemployment and (iii) manufacturing employment share. 
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which areas warranted further consideration in the formulation of the assisted areas map by virtue of their divergence from the national average in the prescribed indicators; if he will publish the rates averaged over the three years used for the purpose of formulating the assisted areas map, for each area of (i) employment, (ii) residence-based unemployment, (iii) workforce-based unemployment and (iv) manufacturing employment share; and what the standard deviation was for each for the purpose of the European Commission's regional aid guidelines, indicating those areas not chosen for inclusion in the assisted areas map. 
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