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Exports (Documentation)

Volume 927: debated on Monday 7 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade what action is being taken to simplify documentation concerned with exports; what consultations are taking place on this matter; and if he will make a statement.

Considerable work is being undertaken both here and overseas to simplify, and abolish where possible, procedures and documentation in international trade. Successive Governments have attached much importance to achieving improvements and I believe some real progress has been and continues to be made.The Department of Trade, through the British Overseas Trade Board, wholly funds the Simplification of International Trade Procedures Board (SITPRO), which was set up in 1970 to carry on work initiated earlier, and officials of my Department and of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise take an active part in its work both at home and in international for a. Recent achievements include the publication by SITPRO of a handbook "Systematic Export Documentation", which illustrates the substantial progress made towards standard formats and offers systems of preparation of export documentation which can reduce costs substantially. Copies of this have been placed in the Library of the House.Representatives of many bodies both public and private concerned with international trade contribute in many ways towards this work of removing unneces- sary obstacle for exports and I am grateful to those who give their time to this unglamorous but very necessary activity.