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Export Promotion Services

Volume 129: debated on Tuesday 15 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the reorganisation of the United Kingdom export promotion services in the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department of Trade and Industry have reviewed the Government trade promotion services available to British exporters to the Federal Republic of Germany and have jointly agreed to arrangements for upgrading our service in the Federal Republic of Germany. A new post of Director General of Trade and Investment Promotion for the whole country will be created in Düsseldorf. An improved information technology system is being installed in Düsseldorf and in other British consultates-general in Germany which will provide British exporters with speedier service more closely targeted to their needs. All British exporters to the German market will benefit and especially those entering the export market for the first time.A comprehensive and centralised data base is to be installed in the consulate-general in Düsseldorf. This will be linked to terminals in consulates-general in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich and West Berlin and to the British Marketing Office for High Technology in Stuttgart. An FRG-wide information network will thus be created. All consulates-general will have access to it and be able to communicate with each other through it. The new system will give exporters quicker answers to enquiries about market prospects and faster contact with potential agents and buyers.The Focus Germany campaign and Lord Young's recent enterprise initiative are stimulating the interest of exporters, especially smaller and medium-sized companies in the German market. The realisation of the single market in 1992 will open it up even further. The FCO and DTI are strengthening Government services to exporters now to assist them in seizing the opportunities that will present themselves.The enhanced system has been planned to be fully operational in October and will be installed over the next six months.

The consul-general in Düsseldorf, Peter Bryant, has taken over from 14 March, as the new Director General of Trade and Investment Promotion with responsibility to direct and co-ordinate the new organisation.

The commercial section in the embassy in Bonn will continue in being until 1 May. On that date it will close and thereafter all inquiries and visits which would have been made to the embassy should be directed to the British consulate-general in Düsseldorf. Their address is Nordsternhaus, Georg-Glock-Strasse 14,400 Düsseldorf 30 (Telephone: 0211–43740, telex: 8584855; telefax 0211–4542319).