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Ratan Tata included in British panel

Besides Tata, the first 12 members of the International Business Advisory Council include Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2006 02:13 IST

Industrialist Ratan Tata's appointment to an influential advisory council set up to advise the British government on business-related issues is an acknowledgement of India's increasing economic strengths and reflects the close relations between the two countries.

Besides Tata, the first 12 members of the International Business Advisory Council include Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and James Wolfensohn, special envoy for disengagement and former president of the World Bank.

The council will advise Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alan Johnson over the next three years on how to respond to the challenges and opportunities of globalisation to ensure that Britain continues to be a top location for international companies.

Johnson said Britain could not and "should not try to compete with the emerging economies of China and India on cost, but we can compete on ideas and knowledge".

Brown said: "There is no more important question for advanced industrial countries today than how to rise to the challenges and opportunities of globalisation.

"In Britain we have strong foundations, built on macroeconomic stability, openness to competition and trade, and investment in infrastructure, science and skills.

"But we must do more. I am delighted that some of the world's leading business people have agreed to join this new advisory council. The council will advise on how we can do more to rise to the challenges we face and ensure that the UK remains one of the world's key locations of choice for high value-added activity, working together to pursue a less protectionist world."

Other members of the council are Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, Lord Browne, group chief executive of BP, Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, Sir Ka-shing Li, chairman of the Board of Hutchison Whampoa, Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco, John Rose, CEO of Rolls Royce, Robert Rubin, director and chairman of the executive committee of Citigroup Inc, Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart, and Meg Whitman, president and Ceo of eBay.

Official sources here said key stakeholders in London's financial sector were joining forces with the government to promote London as the world's leading international financial centre.

Brown said: "Britain's financial services sector, led by the international financial markets of London and other important financial clusters such as Edinburgh and Leeds, provides finance for global businesses and supports development in growing markets like India, China and the Middle East.

"Together with many business services that support it, including accountancy and law, it is a truly world-class industry and, as testified by its growth over the last ten years, is succeeding in rising to the challenge of globalisation.

"No other financial centre can match the international scope of Britain's financial markets, and the government is committed to supporting and promoting these strengths around the world."

First Published: Mar 23, 2006 22:57 IST