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Eastern Europe

Volume 171: debated on Tuesday 1 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the implications for free trade and enterprise between states in western and eastern Europe that will result from the recent agreement at the conference on security and co-operation in Europe.

The Government are very pleased that the 35 participating states at the recent Bonn CSCE intersessional conference on economic co-operation in Europe were able to reach consensus on an ambitious concluding document. In this document, all the participating states made commitments to expand economic co-operation and to enhance the growth of their economies.The document also contains important commitments by the countries of central and eastern Europe to fully embrace domestic and international policies to promote the creation of free and competitive market economies where prices are based on supply and demand and where the performance of their economies relies primarily on the freedom of individual enterprise. These mark a further and significant step forward in the economic reform process which should lead to the creation of conditions likely to foster increased economic and industrial co-operation between the east and the west.The Government are also pleased that the active participation in the conference of representatives of the business community produced many helpful comments and suggestions to encourage greater economic and industrial co-operation. My Department is holding a meeting on 11 May for United Kingdom business participants in the conference and for others who were unable to attend. Among other things we hope to see an exchange of views on the ways in which my Department may be able to help British business take forward any contracts or opportunities identified at the conference, including the use of the various bilateral and multilateral assistance schemes for the countries of central and eastern Europe.