asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he has taken during the last three months, and what steps he intends to take, to increase the international credit facilities of British industrialists, particularly in Scotland, so as to enable them to sell their goods to Egypt and other foreign countries with which they are at present precluded from trading in a large way or at all.
I assume that the hon. and learned Member is referring to the facilities of the Export Credits Guarantee Department. There are only two important markets, namely Egypt and Indonesia, for which the Department is not prepared at the present time to entertain applications. As I told the hon. and learned Member on 22nd January, I hope it will be possible to resume cover for business with Egypt in the near future.
Is the right hon. Gentleman not now getting to the stage of re-establishing these credits with Egypt? Does he realise that the existing restrictions are increasing unemployment, and depriving Britain of much-needed foreign currency? Will he expedite the removal of these unnecessary and disagreeable restrictions?
The Department does not give credits to Egypt, or to any other country. It ensures credits, and we must wait until there is a satisfactory payment system before we can renew this cover.