§ Captain Kerby
asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he is aware that when Mr. George Whyte of Lablanc Limited of London made direct representation to his Department by cable from Perth, Australia, no reply was received by Mr. Whyte from the Export Credits Guarantee Department for three weeks; and if he will look into this situation and ensure that similar delays do not occur in future;
(2) if he is satisfied that the Export Credits Guarantee Department is sufficiently flexible in its approach and that its decisions are based upon proper commercial considerations; what consideration is given by the Export Credits Guarantee Department to opportunities 189W to gain a foothold in new markets by the extension of special credit facilities; and what research facilities are available to the Export Credits Guarantee Department to evaluate such opportunities;
(3) why Mr. George Whyte, of Lablanc Limited of London, was refused a five-year credit cover by the Export Credits Guarantee Department to enable him to obtain a contract in Perth, Australia, which, as confirmed by the High Commissioner, would have enabled this company to open up an export market in Western Australia with great potential;
(4) if he is aware that the Export Credits Guarantee Department was only willing to grant Mr. George Whyte, of Lablanc Limited, the required five-year credit cover if he could prove that any of this country's competitors were extending similar terms; and to what extent his policy in this regard is dictated by the need to follow other countries.
§ Mr. Jay
I have written to the hon. and gallant Member about this case. A telegram from Mr. Whyte to E.C.G.D. dated 27th May was answered by telegram on 28th May. A second telegram from Mr. Whyte addressed to me personally on 6th June was never received.
Mr. Whyte wished to offer seven years' credit on an Australian order for hotel furnishings worth approximately £48,000. E.C.G.D. offered to cover three years' credit, which was as favourable a credit offer as the buyer received from anyone, and a rather long period of credit for such materials. E.C.G.D. was in touch throughout with the British Government's commercial officers in Australia.