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Eastern Europe eases trade barriers

NEW OPPORTUNITIES for UK contractors in eastern Europe is the message of the ICE Annual European Lecture to be delivered by an European Commission industry chief on 19 May.

The new Head of the Enlargement Unit at the EC's Industry Directorate Phillipe Jean will argue that harmonising of construction legislation will lead to tantalising openings for UK contractors in eastern Europe.

He said: 'Eastern European countries are in the process of changing their construction legislation to meet the criteria for membership. This means that there will be no more quotas and tariffs which currently impede this area of trade between east and west.

'At the moment, materials in Poland have different certification procedures in Germany, and would have to be re-tested over there.'

Negotiations are taking place in six eastern European countries and five others are in the process of changing their legislation to meet the criteria for entry to the EU.

'This problem of certification is going to be tackled in the next four years, and its time for industry to be aware.

There will be many new opportunities in eastern Europe, especially given the spectacular economic growth in these countries: 6% growth in Poland, 7% in Lithuania and 8% in Estonia.'

The lecture: 'Potential and policy for construction in a wider Europe', is at the Thomas Telford Theatre, Great George Street, at 6pm. For more information contact Diana Maxwell on (0171) 665 2155/2156.

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