Short-term export credit insurer NCM has called on the Export Credit Guarantee Department to forge a closer partnership with the private sector.

The status of the Government-owned department, which insures £3 billion of mainly defence and infrastructure trade, is being reviewed by the DTI and MPs on the trade select committee.

Bill Hicks, NCM spokesman, said the insurer had submitted evidence to the Government calling on the ECGD to provide greater support to smaller exporters.

But he added: "There is no need for the ECGD to re-enter the short-term credit market, mainly covering the export of consumer goods for up to six months. We would rather it provided loans to small exporters allowing them to buy their own insurance."

NCM was part of the ECGD until it was privatised in 1991. It is now owned by Swiss Re and Zurich and its volume of business has trebled to £30bn since it was hived off.