HC Deb 20 November 1997 vol 301 cc452-3
15. Ms Keeble

What measures her Department is taking to support British exporters. [15405]

Mr. Nigel Griffiths

As well as the measures that my hon. Friend the Minister for Small Firms, Trade and Industry described earlier, the Department of Trade and Industry sponsors the overseas trade services, export development counsellors and a range of other pro-business measures.

Ms Keeble

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. What is he doing to encourage small firms, especially those that do not currently export—which includes about 85 per cent. of the firms in Northamptonshire? Is he prepared to encourage closer links between the overseas trade services of the Department and business links, which have become well established in Northamptonshire and had some success in gaining export orders?

Mr. Griffiths

My hon. Friend is an ambassador for business links. The Department of Trade and Industry has funded export counsellors and 75 are in place in business links. The one in Northamptonshire works with a strong international team and benefits from invaluable expertise from the chamber of commerce