We have eliminated exchange controls. We provide investment insurance. Since 1979, 15 investment promotion and protection agreements have been signed with other Governments. As part of our aid programme, the Commonwealth Development Corporation has stepped up its collaboration with United Kingdom investors; we run a scheme for the support of pre-investment studies by private firms and we provide finance and technical co-operation for joint ventures.
I am looking at what more we might do in this area. Last month we held a conference with representatives of British private sector firms, including overseas investors, to consider the issues.
Is there a team of officials in my right hon. Friend's Department that is specifically charged with furthering this policy? What instructions has he given to overseas posts and commercial departments to look out for suitable investment opportunities?
I do not think that there is a team of officials designated in the way stated by my hon. Friend. On the other hand, I hope he agrees that what I have said shows our concern to promote the policies that he clearly favours. In my experience, overseas missions are conscious of their duties in this respect.
Have the Government any plans to extend the insurance arrangements to which my right hon. Friend has referred? How extensive are they and do they cover the export of capital as well as goods on a large scale?
Private investment, by its nature, cannot cope with the problems of supplying raw materials and their exploitation. Should not there be a Government initiative to ensure that the poorer countries benefit from their raw materials, because that is what is most needed by those countries?
Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is much scope for the further encouragement of overseas private investment? I congratulate him on the measures outlined, but a need exists to combine private investment with investment in the public sector more effectively. Will the Minister pursue policies to that end?