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Government Departments: Assistance With Overseas Sales

Volume 591: debated on Thursday 9 July 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What contribution commercial firms make to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in return for the activities carried out by the FCO and the Ministry of Defence from which the firms benefit commercially; and whether this benefit is regularly costed and billed to them. [HL2477]

The FCO and DTI, working together as Overseas Trade Services (OTS), and the MoD (in relation to defence exports), provide a wide range of services designed to help companies exploit overseas opportunities. In some circumstances—for example, for a tailored market information report—the OTS will charge companies based on the time spent by staff. The revenue generated by such charging is paid to the DTI. The MoD also charge companies in some circumstances—for example, for an overseas demonstration by an MoD sales team. The charges are also based on the time spent by staff, and the revenue is paid to the MoD.