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Tuesday, 8 August 2006
Page: 148

Mr Bowen asked the Minister for Trade, in writing, on 15 February 2006

For each financial year from 1996-1997 to 2004-2005, has the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) provided financial assistance to companies under the National Interest Account; if so, in respect of each grant of assistance (a) what was the name and postal address of the company, (b) what was the value of the assistance provided, (c) what form of assistance was provided, (d) to which country was the company exporting, (e) who were the counterparties, (f) on what date did the Minister direct EFIC to provide the assistance, (g) on what date did EFIC carry out the transaction, and (h) on what national interest grounds was it provide.

Mr Vaile (Minister for Trade) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(a)   to (g) Details of major transactions on the National Interest Account are published in EFIC's Annual Report. Certain particulars of all contracts entered into, and guarantees and loans given under the National Interest Account are published in the Government Notice Gazette in accordance with Section 30 (1) of the EFIC Act.

(h)   All facilities were provided in accordance with the EFIC Act. In particular, facilities were provided where there was sufficient trade or wider benefits to Australia. Under the EFIC Act, National Interest facilities may be provided under Ministerial Direction or Ministerial Approval. In some instances the Minister has directed EFIC to enter into facilities where transactions fell within parameters contained in the relevant Ministerial Direction. EFIC’s Unsecured Advance Payment and Performance Bond Facility, former Export Working Capital Guarantee Facility and a Credit Insurance facility provided during the late-1990s north Asian economic crisis were implemented in this way. Other facilities were the subject of individual Ministerial approvals.