§ Mr. Rooney
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps are being taken to consult exporters about ECGD's arrangements for providing support for capital goods and project exports. 
§ Mrs. Beckett
The Minister for Trade is writing today to leading members of the exporting and financial community for their views on the current arrangements 219W and on options for change in the future. Copies of the consultation paper are being placed in the Library of the House and are publicly available from ECGD on request. The document will also be available on the ECGD internet site.
The consultation paper reviews market development over the past 5 years and, without seeking to prejudge the outcome, asks whether changes to the UK system might now serve the interoses of the exporter and the taxpayer more effectively.
We are asking for responses by 10 April so that the Government can decide on what should succeed ECGD's current Fixed Rate Export Finance (FREF) scheme, which is scheduled to expire at the end of June, and enter into the necessary negotiations.
I hope the consultation document will stimulate serious debate about the best approach for delivering this Government's objective of ensuring UK capital goods and project exporters have access to competitive finance at acceptable public expenditure cost.