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Eastern Europe

Volume 173: debated on Tuesday 5 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade arid Industry if he will list the support being given by his Department to the newly emerging democracies in eastern Europe.

My Department seeks to help the process of reform in these countries by encouraging the involvement of British companies in their economic transformation and reconstruction. In particular we provide information on opportunities for direct investment, including joint ventures and other forms of industrial co-operation; for increased exports of goods and services; and for consultancy and management training.DTI Ministers play their part by receiving incoming delegations and by taking with them groups of business men on visits to those countries. In recent months, the Secretary of State and I have led parties of business men to the USSR, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia arid Romania. I shall shortly be taking a group of business men with me to the GDR. The Minister for Trade visited the Leipzig fair in support of British exhibitors and attended the recent CSCE conference in Bonn on economic co-operation in Europe.My Department also encourages British business to take full advantage of the several United Kingdom, EC and multilateral schemes introduced to assist projects of reform and reconstruction in the emerging countries of eastern Europe, including the United Kingdom know-how funds.The DTI co-sponsored a major conference in London on 22 May which sought to alert British companies to the possibilities of winning aid-financed business in eastern Europe. A DTI official was recently seconded to the joint assistance unit in the FCO to help in the administration of the United Kingdom know-how fund.In addition the Department continues to offer its established export services and to finance the activities of the East European Trade Council, the BOTB's area advisory group for eastern Europe.