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Trade & Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt
Trade & Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: PATRICIA HEWITT, Trade & Industry Secretary NOVEMBER 11TH, 2001

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: Well two years on from Seattle, the World Trade Organisation talks have resumed, this time in Qatar. And the Secretary of State for Trade & Industry, Pat Hewitt is there and joining us now live from Doha. Has progress been made so far, I guess obviously in the sense of China it has?

PATRICIA HEWITT: We are making progress, David, but there's still several days of very hard talks to go before we can be sure that we can get a new world trade round off the ground.

DAVID FROST: Several hard talks to go - what's the problem, what are the barriers?

PATRICIA HEWITT: Let me just start by mentioning what the benefits are. You know, we thought that getting a new world trade round going was pretty important even before the 11th of September because it would be good for the developing countries and good for us. But since the 11th of September, we've created this extraordinary mobile coalition against terrorism - you've just been discussing that - and it's very important, even more important now, that we underpin that global coalition against terrorism with a stronger coalition for trade. So the difficulties we've got to confront, we have to work with the developing countries to make sure that we implement the agreements that have already been reached. We've got to make sure that developing countries have access to European and American and other developed and we also need to make sure that our own public are reassured on matters like the environment and showing a lot of public concern.

DAVID FROST: In terms of public concern, what's been the situation in terms of, in terms of demonstrations? We haven't seen demonstrations like there were in Seattle, is it, do demonstrators find it more difficult to get to Qatar?

PATRICIA HEWITT: No there aren't demonstrations here, certainly the Qatari authorities here have been enormously welcoming and are running a very efficient operation here. But I think, I mean let's say we have a number of non-governmental organisations here - indeed I've got the TUC, the CBI and representatives of the development organisations Oxfam and so on, all within the United Kingdom delegation and every day of these talks my ministers and I are meeting all the British NGOs who have come over here for the talks.

DAVID FROST: And what about the China issue, I mean what effect does China joining the WTO, what effect does that have? Does it bring China more into the community of nations? Are we being too keen to allow their human rights problems not to be discussed? I mean what, what's the reaction? What's the effect?

PATRICIA HEWITT: The general feeling is that it's enormously important to have China join the World Trade Organisation. It's going to be, it's the second biggest economy in the world, and it opens the prospect of greater prosperity for the Chinese people but also it will enable British and other Western companies to sell more of our goods to China. And it is at a time when globalisation is often very unpopular. It's important to remember that here we have not only China but a large number of other countries, all wanting to join the World Trade Organisation, because I think there's a growing recognition that if we can get a proper framework for free and fair trade across the world, then we'll have a system for global justice in which we can all become better off.

DAVID FROST: Well thank you very much. There's a postscript here, Patricia as you know, because you'll have heard all about it, but just a lightning postscript here, Patricia Hewitt in row over sub-letting a Labour office - what's all that about?

PATRICIA HEWITT: Well I think the Sunday Telegraph have got thoroughly confused. I declared all the income I received in the Register of Member's Interests, and I declared all my election expenses properly in the return of election expenses, so I've complied with all the rules.

DAVID FROST: Well thank you very much to Pat for joining us, we look forward to welcoming you to the studio here for a longer conversation. Thank you very much.

PATRICIA HEWITT: I will look forward to it David.


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