HC Deb 07 February 2000 vol 344 c6W
Mr. Chope

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if export credit for vessels designed for protection of a nation's maritime boundaries is treated by the Export Credits Guarantee Department as unproductive expenditure within the meaning used to define those credits which the Department refuses to guarantee. [108480]

Mr. Caborn

As the hon. Member knows, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 11 January a unilateral UK ban on export credits in respect of "unproductive expenditure" to 63 of the world's poorest countries.

Projects supported in future on these countries should be measured against the following indicative criteria: assist social and economic development; or be of maximum benefit to areas most affected by poverty; or tackle problem areas where private investment is not available; or wherever possible, earn foreign exchange; or encourage viable self-financing projects.

These principles need not necessarily preclude ECGD support for the sale of defence or dual purpose equipment provided that such equipment is, for example, deemed essential for national security, or required to combat the drugs trade, piracy, smuggling etc. Support for projects must be cleared with the Department for International Development, who must be satisfied that the expenditure is consistent with the above.