HC Deb 11 May 1971 vol 817 cc97-8W
Mr. Biffen

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he is in a position to state the result of his review of the organisation of export promotion.

Mr. John Davies

I have now completed the review of the organisation of export promotion services foreshadowed in the White Paper on the Re-organisation of Central Government.

After consulting a wide range of interests, including the B.N.E.C. and other representative bodies of industry, I have come to the conclusion that the best form of organisation is one designed to integrate the various export promotion services at present provided by the B.N.E.C. and the Department of Trade and Industry and at the same time to maintain the active and valuable participation of businessmen in the work of export promotion. Finance will have to continue to be provided by the Government.

I have concluded that the best way to achieve these objectives would be to bring all export promotion services into a single organisation under the British Export Board. This Board will consist of people especially experienced in export activities including representatives of commerce and industry, of whom one will be the Chairman, together with representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It will work under the general authority of the Minister for Trade who will in this capacity be known as President of the British Export Board and will take the chair from time to time. He will be responsible for me for its work. In general, however the affairs of the Board will be conducted by the Chairman. The Board will be serviced by staff of the Department of Trade and Industry.

The organisation of the Board will require further consideration hut its main task will be to give broad direction to the execution of export intelligence work, the work on trade fairs and other promotional activity overseas, the schemes for financial support for firms to participate in missions and for inward commercial visits to this country.

I shall now begin the necessary consultations, with a view to bringing the new organisation into operation as soon as possible. In the meantime the existing organisation will continue with current work.

I should like to take this opportunity to pay a tribute to the work which the B.N.E.C., its Chairman and Area Committee Chairmen, members and staff have carried out in the past in support of the export promotion effort. They have served the country well in this vital work and I am grateful for all they have done.

Forward to