HC Deb 22 July 1935 vol 304 cc1464-6

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether, since the conclusion of the trade agreement between Britain and Russia last year, there has been any reduction in the premium charged by the Exports Credit Guarantee Department in respect of exports to Russia; what the premium now is; and how it compares with that charged in respect of exports to other countries?

Lieut.-Colonel J. COLVILLE (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

The premiums charged by the Export Credits Guarantee Department in respect of exports to Russia have been reduced by about a third since the conclusion of the trade agreement between Great Britain and Russia last year. The premiums are fixed by the Department's Advisory Committee having due regard to the circumstances of each case and are confidential. The premium rates compare favourably with those charged in respect of exports to many other countries.


Will the Minister be good enough to give the House the exact figures indicating the terms now offered by Germany and those offered by the Export Credits Department.

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

The terms offered in Germany have been the subject of a previous question to which I replied in some detail.


Is there any reason why the figure for Russia should be confidential, in view of the fact that the consignee is the same in every case?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

The department keep the figures confidential in every case. There is no discrimination.


Is the Minister aware that the Export Credits Advisory Committee has been openly accused by a prominent business man of profiteering at the expense of British industry and that repeated representations have been made from every quarter of the House? Is it not time that the terms were reduced?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

The Advisory Committee is taking risks with the taxpayers' money, and they must have prudent regard to all the circumstances of each case. In this particular case if the Soviet Government have any proposals to make the Committee will be glad to examine them. At the present time we have no concrete proposal before us.


Is it not the fact that in no single case has Russia defaulted? In view of the fact that the German terms for five years' credit are known the wide world over, is there any reason why our terms should not be known, and, if trade is available, ought we not to take advantage of it?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

If the Soviet Government want to put definite propositions forward, they know what approach to make.

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