asked the Secretary of State for Trade what advice, in the light of the EEC negotiations, his Department is giving to British exporters seeking to establish new sales outlets in the Common Market.
The full range of the Department's export services continues to be available to such exporters. The current renegotiation of the terms of our membership of the EEC has in no way weakened our encouragement to exporters.
Does not the Under-Secretary of State think that his Department should explain to exporters the likely effect of the EEC negotiations leading, as the Secretary of State for Trade wishes, to Britain's withdrawal from the EEC? Is it not a fact that British exporters who are starting new sales outlets in the EEC may find themselves without the tariff advantages which they now expect to enjoy?
I do not accept that the present uncertainties about membership seriously limit the value of the advice which my Department can give. In the event of a decision being taken to withdraw—and that obviously is by no means certain—I am confident that Europe must continue to be a major market for all British exporters.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many business men who have exported to the Continent for many years are getting quite desperate about the increase in documentation, or plain bumf, occasioned by our entry to the EEC? Many of them look back almost nostalgically to the days before we entered when it was easier to export than now.
We are aware of the difficulties resulting from complicated documents not only in the EEC but in other markets. I can assure the House that my Department is working with our partners in the EEC and other parts of the world to standardise, on an international basis, trade classification and other documentation procedures to speed up the flow of exports, which must be in the interests of all of us.