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Export Credit Guarantees

Volume 403: debated on Tuesday 8 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the discussions her Department has had with the Department of Trade and Industry with regard to reforming the Export Credit Guarantee scheme. [106521]

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has, since its creation, engaged continually in detailed discussions with the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD)—the Department responsible for export credits—with a view to ensuring that the provision of export credits takes full account of sustainability considerations. Discussions take place at both official and Ministerial levels.The outcome of ECGD"s Mission and Status Review in 2000 provided the basis for this dialogue. Defra was then closely involved in the subsequent formulation of ECGD"s Business Principles and was actively supportive of ECGD"s efforts to finalise the OECD agreement on Common Approaches on the Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits. More recently, Defra has liaised closely with ECGD over revisions to that Department's Case Impact Analysis Process. Defra is consulted in detail on all cases which are dealt with under the Sensitive Cases procedure. Discussions are also taking place on how best to encourage export credit applications by UK renewables exporters.The most recent Ministerial discussion, between the Minister of State for the Environment and the Minister of State for International Trade and Investment, confirmed agreement on the following issues:That Defra and ECGD Ministers should meet whenever necessary to discuss both individual export credit cases and also broader issues of policy; That, in future, ECGD would normally expect to disclose details of High Potential Impact cases at least sixty days prior to making a decision on whether to provide support.Defra will continue to work closely with ECGD to ensure that the principles of sustainable development are reflected fully in the policies and operations of that Department.