HC Deb 14 May 1957 vol 570 cc206-7
31. Mr. Elwyn Jones

asked the President of the Board of Trade what additional facilities under the export credits guarantee scheme have recently been made available to exporters trading with Poland.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. Derek Walker-Smith)

The additional facilities announced on 11th March, which are available to all United Kingdom exporters, will be applicable to trade with Poland. No additional facilities have been made available solely for exporters to Poland.

Mr. Elwyn Jones

Is it not desirable to take every possible step to promote British trade with Poland at this critical stage in international relations? Is not the Minister's reply somewhat disappointing in the circumstances?

Mr. Walker-Smith

No, Sir. I do not think that it is disappointing to anybody who understands the machinery of the export credits guarantee scheme. Exporters to Poland will benefit in the context that I have indicated.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Is it not very important politically as well as economically to take real steps to encourage trade between this country and Poland?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Yes; but the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that the export credits guarantee scheme is a scheme for ensuring credit contracts for exporters from this country. As I have said, we are doing for exporters to Poland what we are doing for exporters to other countries.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is the Minister saying that he cannot do anything because the export credits guarantee scheme is limited? If that is the case, what other measures do the Government propose for encouraging trade with Poland?

Mr. Walker-Smith

On the contrary, exports to Poland now come under Section 1 of the Export Guarantees Act, 1949; that is, commercial guarantees are given. That, of course, is a step forward, as the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate.

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