Telecommunications Companies

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 5th April 1995.

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Photo of Mr Douglas French Mr Douglas French , Gloucester 2:30 pm, 5th April 1995

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to assist British telecommunications companies to develop commercial involvements in European and other markets. [16447]

Photo of Ian Taylor Ian Taylor , Esher

The Government are continuing to press for rapid liberalisation of telecoms services and infrastructures in the European Union and world wide. The Overseas Project Board and Overseas Trade Services help operators and suppliers win a greater share of overseas business.

Photo of Mr Douglas French Mr Douglas French , Gloucester

Does my hon. Friend agree that one reason that British telecoms companies are so successful in Europe is that this country and the Government set the worldwide agenda for privatisation, liberalisation and a sound regulatory framework? Does he agree also that another manifestation of the same success factor is the level of inward investment by cable companies?

Photo of Ian Taylor Ian Taylor , Esher

My hon. Friend makes an important point. This country is a test-bed for the development of the information infrastructure. We welcome inward investment, which has created jobs and helped to advance our technological base more rapidly. Most companies that have invested in this country are now also exporting to its benefit. There are also several joint ventures such as GPT, between GEC and Siemens, which has a massive telecoms contract in Moscow. The competitive instincts of the British market are leading us to succeed in other markets. I look forward to further developments in all aspects of the infrastructure—fixed link, mobile, supplies and services—around the world, as other countries follow our lead and liberalise their infrastructures and services.