HC Deb 02 July 1968 vol 767 cc1298-9
Ql. Mr. Whitaker

asked the Prime Minister whether he will co-ordinate the relevant work of the Board of Trade and the Foreign Office in order to establish a National Export Agency.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

My hon. Friend will know of the Overseas Marketing Corporation the establishment of which was announced by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade on 2nd November last. If my hon. Friend has any other point in mind I would be happy to consider it.—[Vol. 753, c. 11–13.]

Mr. Whitaker

Would not a National Export Agency based directly on intelligence from commercial attaches throughout the world be invaluable for smaller British firms which cannot have exporting knowledge of every country?

The Prime Minister

This is why the Corporation, following the Denman Report, has been set up—to act as an overseas selling organisation for British goods with export potential whose manufacturers, for one reason or another, lack the knowledge or facilities needed. The reports from our overseas representatives are available to the organisation.

Sir C. Osborne

Does the Prime Minister not agree that our commercial attaches in most countries are doing a fine job in helping our exporters? Would not he further agree that what is needed is not a further agency like this but a reduction in direct taxation and the abolition of S.E.T. in order to give incentives to men to export?

The Prime Minister

The latter part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question raises wider considerations, and I remind him that we are discussing the Finance Bill this week. But I agree with his tribute to our representatives, both in foreign countries and in Commonwealth countries. Their work is very useful to our manufacturers. I think that the new Corporation will help many small potential exporters. I have also been very impressed, in my visits to various parts of the country recently, by what chambers of commerce and other private enterprise organisations are doing to help our smaller exporters.

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