HC Deb 21 November 1984 vol 68 cc292-3
15. Mr. Coombs

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the recent visit to the middle east by the Minister for Trade, the right hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Channon).

Mr. Channon

I visited Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to reinforce British business efforts there. In Saudi Arabia, for some of the time, I was accompanied by a team of senior British business men. These markets account for British exports worth over £2 billion a year. The Ministers whom I met are keen to see an expanding trade relationship with Britain. These are markets which we must pursue vigorously.

Mr. Coombs

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the middle east remains a most important area for British trade? Is he satisfied that the quality of the help given by the Government to traders in that area is as high as it could be, and are there any new initiatives in that area about which he can inform us?

Mr. Channon

The middle east is indeed an extremely important market for the United Kingdom, and business men seem to be satisfied with what the Government are doing to help. I believe that the credit arrangements are reasonably satisfactory. When I went to Iraq I was able to announce a further line of credit of some £250 million to £300 million, which, combined with the credit that we offered last year, will afford British exporters the opportunity to export up to £600 million to what I believe to be a very important market.