§ Mr. Chris Patten
Gross British bilateral aid to Mauritius in 1987 amounted to some £8 million. As I saw for myself in May, Mauritius makes excellent use of it
§ Mr. Patten
We have been pressing during the discussions on the renegotiations of the Lomé convention for more openness in the trading regime under that convention. It is obviously especially important when export earnings from trade are so much more important to ACP countries than aid flows. We are pressing particularly for the greater liberalisation of trade arangements for items such as sugar, which would be of especial importance to Mauritius.
§ Mr. Janner
Having regard to the needs of Mauritius, to the excellent relations between the United Kingdom and the island, and perhaps even to its strategic importance, will the Minister give the House an assurance that aid will be increased during 1988?
§ Mr. Patten
That will depend on a number of issues. First, it will depend on whether we are successful in winning one or two more contracts under the aid and trade provision; secondly, it will depend on the progress that we make in two sectors in discussions with the Mauritian Government—first, in doing more in the environmental sector with them; secondly, in further strengthening our arrangements for helping them with their water supply. There are excellent twinning arrangements with the Severn-Trent water authority, which I wish to see strengthened.