§ Mr. David Porter
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will announce the results of his review of his Department's export intelligence service; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Needham
A study was conducted for my Department by consultants KPMG and I am grateful to all those who contributed to it. I have accepted the key finding of the review that the present system of matching United Kingdom firms expressed export interests with business opportunities reported from abroad does not fully meet the needs either of the United Kingdom which subscribe to it or of the potential foreign buyers seeking a United Kingdom source of supply of goods and services. But the review did conclude that the system generated some £200 million of extra exports annually. I have therefore decided that these sales justify continuation of export intelligence, but with operational improvements and the creation of a parallel source of supply system to answer foreign buyers' inquiries.
The contract signed in 1989, now with Prelink Ltd., to operate the marketing, matching and distribution of export intelligence has generally worked well. Consequently, I have decided to accept its proposal for introducing the changes to export intelligence and for setting up a new source of supply service from 1 April 1993. I am extending its contract to 31 March 1998.