HC Deb 02 September 1998 vol 317 cc870-1W
Mr. Stevenson

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the balance of trade in(a) steel, (b) ceramics and (c) coal in (i) volume and (ii) value in each of the last five years. [53238]

Mrs. Roche

The information is given in the following table:

Mr. Wilson

The Export Promoter Initiative was launched in late 1992 as a partnership between industry and Government which would spearhead the UK's efforts to win overseas business. The initiative involves seconding senior executives from British companies with appropriate international trade expertise to the Department for about two years. Their role as Export Promoters (EPs) is to bring to bear their experience of particular countries and sectors and use this impartially to advise and assist both SMEs and larger enterprises. The initiative is now a rolling programme of recruitment with EPs being replaced as secondments are completed.

Employers are asked to bear their secondees' payroll costs although in practice the department has to make a financial contribution by negotiation in 3 our of every 4 appointments. The department provides support budgets for EPs for their travel, subsistence, promotions, etc.

Since its early days, when the target number of EPs was 100, the initiative has settled to a current level of about 80 EPs on secondment at any one time.

The cost of the scheme each year since its inception has been as follows:

£ million
1993–94 2.0
1994–95 5.6
1995–96 6.3
1996–97 5.8
1997–98 4.6

An evaluation report of the Export Promoter Initiative in 1997 found it to be highly valued by UK business, and the current Government remain strongly committed to the Initiative.

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