§ Mr. Stevens
asked the Minister for Trade if he will be renewing the appointments of members of the British Overseas Trade Advisory Council.
§ Mr. Peter Rees
No. The council was set up in 1975 when the British Overseas Trade Board was only three years old asa useful forum of criticism and advice and an additional two-way channel of communication between the Board and industry".Although there may have been a need for such a consultative body at that time, other means have been 183W developed subsequently which provide excellent two-way communications between the board and industry. In particular, the BOTB chairman has regular quarterly meetings with the chairmen of the 16 area advisory groups and the BOTB chief executive has twice yearly conferences with trade associations and chambers of commmerce. In addition, the presence upon the Board of representatives from the TUC, CBI and ABCC enables these bodies to be closely associated with the important work of the BOTB.
The result of these various measures has been that over the last two years no occasion has arisen when a meeting of the council was needed or has been sought by its members. As the council has clearly outlived its usefulness there is no need for it to remain in being. My right hon. Friend and I would like to thank those who have served on the council over the years for their interest and advice.