Letter: Bribery is out

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I was disappointed to see The Independent focusing on misconceptions about the operation of the Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD), rather than its very positive benefits such as jobs, export orders and strengthening trading links with new markets (Business, 8 November). In particular this article was quite wrong to suggest that ECGD provides insurance to cover bribes. This is not the case.

Not only do we have very strict rules about this, we have also for some time played a prominent part within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to ensure that export credit agencies around the world develop systems to see that bribery is not supported. At ECGD we are enhancing our existing procedures to make doubly sure this does not happen here.

I am also surprised that Huw Evans is reported as criticising us for giving "too much support" for exports where there is little hope of being paid. Given his previous responsibilities at the Treasury for ECGD matters, Huw should recall that a thorough risk analysis, usually with the participation of other government departments including the Treasury, is made on each market before any taxpayers' money is put at risk.

We are more often criticised for being too restrictive in our underwriting procedures. Our job is to strike the right balance. The trading accounts we will be publishing shortly will demonstrate that we are doing just that.

VIVIAN BROWN

Chief Executive, Export Credit Guarantee Department

London E14

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