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Soviet Union

Volume 180: debated on Friday 16 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further plans Her Majesty's Government have to help the process of economic reform in the Soviet Union.

We believe that the principal western contribution to economic reform in the Soviet Union should be multilateral. The European Community is committed to supporting reform in the USSR. Britain is pressing for concrete help in areas such as energy. The existing EC-USSR agreement provides a sound basis for greatly increased economic cooperation. We also look forward to the results of the IMF study of the Soviet economy which is expected to be ready by the end of the year.In addition, the Government have decided to establish a know-how fund for the Soviet Union. This will draw on

the experience gained from the existing know-how fund for eastern Europe, but will be distinct. Its aim will be to transfer to the Soviet Union British skills and expertise. Help will be provided in close collaboration with the British private sector and will be targeted on four key sectors:

  • —food distribution/agriculture
  • —energy
  • —small business formation
  • —financial services

An initial sum of £20 million over two years has been allocated to the Soviet know-how fund.