Memorandum submitted by the East European
Thank you for inviting the EETC to submit written
evidence to the inquiry.
The East European Trade Council is an outhoused
British-Government financed Area Advisory Group responsible for
promoting British business of every kind with 27 sovereign states,
including those covered by the inquiry.
We have visited the majority of those countries
and are to visit Georgia and Armenia from 11-17 April 1999; we
have regular contact with our Posts in the Transcaucasus and Central
Asia and our Agriculture and Food Working Group has visited the
region to seek business for its members. I attach a letter from
one of the members of our advisory council, which consists of
15 businessmen together with a representative from the DTI and
two from trade associations, the CBI and the British Consultants
Bureau [not printed].
Now that commercial/business relations with
the countries of Central and Eastern Europe are being conducted
on an increasingly normal basis there is growing interest from
our clients, large and small British companies, in the Caspian
Region and Central Asia. This is partly driven by markets that
offer early investment proposals and business proposals linked
to increased prosperity for a growing section of the population.
The Posts in each country are crucial to developing
British business in that they can provide timely information on
changes in the market, privatisation, developing private sector
businesses, need for service industries and the like. When such
Posts are properly resourced they are the key to British companies
winning a larger slice of the business before our competitors.
If adequate staffing is provided the benefits
are two-fold: commercial officers can become more proactive in
identifying commercial opportunities and are able to give the
back-up to British companies who need more support in those markets
High calibre locally engaged staff are worth
retaining and Heads of Mission should be given flexibility in
their staffing budget to pay the market rate to attract and retain
locally engaged commercial officers.
With the establishment of British Trade International
and the recognition of the higher priority for British exports,
consideration should be given to increasing the resources of British
Posts in the markets of the Transcaucasus and Central Asia.