asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is satisfied that the United Kingdom is sufficiently competitive as regards credit extension through the Export Credits Guarantee Department in the Japanese market; and if he will make a statement.
Yes, Sir. I hope British firms will make full use of the extensive guarantee facilities we offer. If my hon. Friend has any particular point in mind, perhaps he will let me know.
As credit is not a limiting factor in our trade with Japan, can the President of the Board of Trade say why our trade with Japan has not been increasing as fast as Germany's?
I should like to have that question put on the Order Paper.
Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the main risks in trade with Japan are carried by our textile exporters without any help from the Export Credits' Guarantee Department—that is, for the whole of the period while the Japanese trade agreement is being negotiated? This is a very important period of six months, and will the right hon. Gentleman instruct his Department to give some cover for that period?
I appreciate and value the important contribution being made by the wool textile exporters to Japan and I am familiar with the point raised by my hon. Friend. But neither E.C.G.D. nor any other credit insurer covers the risks of licences being refused for licensable goods.
Would it not be better to allow the British exporter to Japan to enjoy the same sort of privileges in export subsidies as the Japanese themselves employ?
That would entail a complete change of policy regarding export subsidies for British exporters; I would not like to undertake that in respect of Japan alone.